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Duhok, Iraqi Kurdistan – On Sunday, militants of the Islamic State (IS) announced their control on the Yezidi-majority areas of Shingal, west of Mosul in northern Iraq.
Islamic State’s controlled came after the withdrawal of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces from the area.
Following their control over Shingal, the Islamic State called on the Yezidi residents to either convert to Islam, otherwise they will be killed according to IS regulations against non-Muslim subjects.
Speaking to ARA News in Erbil, member of Gorran Movement in Iraqi Kurdistan, Kamiran Isaac, said: “More than 30 Yezidis were killed by IS militants on Sunday morning after refusing to submit to the group’s orders and convert to Islam. The entire Yezidi religious group in Shingal is facing danger of death following IS domination on their area. A collective genocide may follow in the coming hours.”
“The Peshmerga forces are in a state of alert at the moment, and the leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan is currently trying to set a plan in order to regain the lost areas in western Mosul,” Isaac told ARA News.
Shingal area administratively belongs to the territory of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq.
The area saw total cut of communication service on Sunday, according to local sources.
Narin Shemo, journalist based in Duhok province of Iraqi Kurdistan, told ARA News that “more than ten thousand Yezidis escaped Shingal area” following the unprecedented advance of the al-Qaeda splinter group of Islamic State (IS) on Sunday, and headed to Sinjar mountains and Fish Khabour area “for fear of IS extremists”.
“The displaced Yezidi civilians suffer a sharp shortage of food and basic supplies,” Shemo said.
Meanwhile, activists in the nearby Kurdish areas of Syria reported to ARA News that dozens of vehicles carrying displaced Yezidis from Shengal crossed the borders into Syria’s Derik city on Sunday afternoon.
“At least 50 vehicles carrying Yezidi families arrived in Derik after crossing Rabiaa (Tel Kocher) border crossing at the Syrian-Iraqi borders. Syria Kurds established a temporary camp to receive Yezidi families from Iraq’s Shingal area. Newroz Camp is located 3km north of Derik city,” Hamza Azem, Kurdish activist, told ARA News in Derik.
In a linked context, hospitals in the city of Derik received on Sunday 15 Kurdish fighters of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) and 6 members of the Peshmerga who were hardly injured during clashes with militants of the Islamic State (IS) in Shingal area. Most of the cases are reportedly critical.
Sources close to the YPG told ARA News that the Syrian Kurdish forces of the YPG backed Peshmerga forces of Iraqi Kurdistan during clashes against militants of IS (previously known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ‘ISIL’) on Saturday night.
On the other hand, the Yezidi Supreme Council in northern Iraq held an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon to discuss the latest developments in Shingal area and the status of the Yezidi community there after the control of the Islamic State group, calling on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to provide Yezidis with protection. Members of the Yezidi Supreme Council also demanded the international community and the United Nations to take action and help the Yezidi minority group in Iraq against what they called “danger of elimination and genocide”.
Reporting by: Jano Alyani and Ali Isso
Source: ARA News