Iraqi Yezidis demand autonomy

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Yezidi civilians flee Shingal area in northern Iraq following attacks by militants of the Islamic State. File photo

ARA News 

Erbil, Kurdistan Region – Zaradasht Shingali, official spokesman of the Sinjar Defense Units (YBŞ) said Saturday that their fighters are making “remarkable efforts” in defending the Yezidi-majority areas in northern Iraq.

The YBŞ consists of dozens of young Yezidi men who have volunteered to fight against militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in Sinjar, in northern Iraq.

“The YBŞ forces are determined to defend their areas and form an independent administration to run the Yezidi region in northern Iraq as soon as it is freed from the terrorists,” Shingali told reporters in Iraqi Kurdistan. 

“It is true that there are dozens of armed groups and the Peshmerga in Shingal, but everyone should know that YBŞ is a future Yezidi army,” the spokesman of the YBŞ forces said. 

This comes amid calls by the President of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani for the unification of the Kurdish armed groups fighting in Sinjar under the banner of the Peshmerga.

However, the Ministry of Peshmerga has reportedly refused the presence of other forces and did not recognize the Kurdish forces of the YBŞ. 

Also the officials of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Shingal area reject the existence of any force other than the Peshmerga, as it is the special force for Iraqi Kurdistan and the Shingal area. 

Zaradasht Shingali, during the ceremony of the graduation of 30 new fighters on a training course at Mount Sinjar, added: “It is true that we have seen mass killings, but let all the enemies and friends know that the Yezidi people are awakened, and that they currently protect their homes.” 

“The Yezidis deserve to enjoy freedom, equality and democracy on their land,” Shingali said. “Having an independent army, policy and administration, is our legitimate right, and for this our will and sacrifice continue.” 

Noteworthy, the Shingal Defense Units (YBŞ) is fighting side by side with the Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces against the radical group of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) in the Shingal area and Mount Sinjar, where these forces were able in December 2014 to advance in the vicinity of the city of Shingal with the help of the U.S.-led international coalition’s raids on IS locations. 

 

Reporting by: Sarbaz Yusuf

Source: ARA News

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