Kurdish, Yazidi parties call for an end to clashes in Shingal

Peshmerga forces in Khanasor clashed with Yazidi Units on 3 March 2017

Several Kurdish and Yazidi organisations, parties and individuals have called for an end to clashes and tensions in the Khanasor neighbourhood of Shingal in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Clashes broke out between peshmerga forces affiliated to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and local Yazidi Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) on Friday morning after the former tried to enter the neighbourhood without permission according to reports. Escalating tensions have resulted in the death of one Yazidi fighter, while at least seven others have been wounded on both sides.

The ANF News Agency meanwhile has reported the death of tens of peshmerga while also claiming the surrender of dozens to Yazidi Units. Both sides have blamed each other for the violence, which ceased at around 09:00 local time.

A commentator has said Turkey is to be blamed for the clashes with Turkish-trained Rojava peshmergas being used as a divisive tool.

Kurdish parties, including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Kurdistan Democratic Party-Iran (KDP-I) as well as Turkey’s left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have called for an immediate end to violence and a resolution using negotiations.

The PUK in a statement said: “We call for the immediate cessation of all hostilities between Kurds in Shingal. Fighting only serves our enemies not Kurdistan.”

HDP spokesperson Osman Baydemir in a statement said, “Our call is to all Kurds and Kurdistan’s leaders who said, ‘A fight between siblings [Kurds] will never happen again’. We are calling on them to remain true to their words.”

An influential spiritual leader of the Yazidi community, Mir Tahsin Beg, has also called on both sides to “stop the war.”

10 Yazidi organisations have also released a joint statement calling for an end to clashes and for pressure to be put on the KDP to remove its forces from Shingal.

Meanwhile the Yazidi Community Council which is affiliated to the KDP has called on the PKK to leave the area.

A local source told Kom News there were no PKK militants in Khanasor but that they were positioned to the north of Shingal, in areas bordering those still held by the Islamic State (IS) group.