7 Yazidi fighters killed, 20 injured in Shingal clashes with peshmerga force

Fighters of the Shingal Resistance Units (YBS).

The Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) and Shingal Women’s Units (YJS) have made a joint statement in relation to clashs with peshmerga forces in the Khanasor neighbourhood in the Kurdistan region, northern Iraq on Friday morning.

In the statement the Yazidi militias revealed that seven of their “comrades” had been killed and 20 had been injured in clashes, which lasted almost three hours.

“On 2 March, a gang group calling themselves the ‘Roj peshmergas’ affiliated to the Kurdish National Council [in Syria] departed from Sihelan and Dohuk to come to Shingal. At 13:30 they reached Khanasor. Our forces communicated with the group to understand why they had come here. During this meeting we understood that their aim was to invade Shingal and oust our forces from the region.”

The statement claimed that despite all efforts to resolve the issue using peaceful means, the peshmerga forces had launched an attack the following day and that the Yazidi militias had responded in self-defence.

“Clashes lasted almost three hours. Seven of our comrades were martyred and 20 injured. Two of the martyrs are HPG [PKK armed force] fighters. These comrades tried to intervene to prevent clashes and were martyred in the process,” the statement read.

The groups also emphasised the timing of the peshmergas arrival and said it was “strange but significant” that it had happened following KRG President Massoud Barzani’s visit to Ankara. “The attacking gang group is directly trained and financed by the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation. They are working in the service of Turkey,” the militias claimed.

The statement also said Yazidi forces were not against the “presence of the Kurdistan Region’s peshmerga in Shingal” and that there were currently peshmerga deployed there.

“We are against gang groups like the ‘Roj peshmerga’ who are currently preparing attacks on Shingal. We will defend our land no matter what the cost. We have sacrificed a lot in the past two and half years for this,” the statement said.

A 24-hour ceasefire is currently in effect in the area as dialogue between parties continues. Both sides have accused each other of instigating the violence.

Reports have also suggested that at least four peshmergas were injured in clashes. Unconfirmed reports says there are also many casualties amongst peshmerga forces however an official statement has not been made.

The Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK) on Saturday called for an “immediate cessation of the attack on the Kurdish Yazidis,” adding that the Kurdistan Democratic Party needed to “respect the will of the Yazidis.”

The KDP has not made an official statement on the matter.