Iraqi army and PMF reach 'fragile deal' for stability in Sinjar: officials

Iraqi army and PMF reach 'fragile deal' for stability in Sinjar: officials
The situation in Sinjar is now stable after the Iraqi army and Yazidi forces agreed on a "fragile deal" to deescalate tensions.
3 min read
05 May, 2022
According to the deal, the Iraqi army, the YBS and Ezidxane Security Forces will run joint checkpoints in Sinune and Sinjar. [Getty]

Following heavy clashes between the Iraqi army and the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) since early this week, the two sides have reached a "fragile" ceasefire deal in the Yazidi hometown and its surroundings in Sinjar, Yazidi and Kurdish officials said to The New Arab

The Iraqi army on May 2 launched an operation against YBS and Ezidxane Security Forces in the Sinune sub-district of Sinjar to remove forces that were allied with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Sherwan al-Douberdani, an Iraqi lawmaker from Nineveh, told AFP that a soldier was killed, while a senior army official noted that two other soldiers were injured.

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"Currently the situation is stable in Sinune and all the Iraqi combatant forces withdrew as per an agreement between the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi PM and commander-general of the Iraqi armed forces," said Khudeda Alias, Chairman of the Autonomous Administration Council in Sinuny sub-district of Sinjar, to The New Arab during a brief phone interview.

"According to the deal, the Iraqi army, the YBS and Ezidxane Security Forces will run joint checkpoints in Sinune and Sinjar," Alias added. 

He also said that one fighter from Ezidxane Security was killed and another wounded.

Despite this deal, Alias noted that Yazidis are extremely concerned about renewed violence between the local factions and the Iraqi army, because "the Iraqi government is being exploited by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Turkish state." 

Alias further said that nearly 200 families were displaced due to the Iraqi army's use of heavy artillery in residential areas.

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Islamic State group militants (IS) took over Sinjar in August 2014, a Yazidi-majority district along Iraq's north-western border with Syria, after the Iraqi army and the Kurdish peshmerga forces retreated the area, leaving the Yazidis to experience a genocidal campaign of killings, rape, abductions and enslavement by ISIS militants.

Yazidis established the armed YBS, with the help of the PKK to defend their vulnerable community. Ezidxane Security Forces are affiliated with the YBS, which is part of Iraq's PMF.

The Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed a deal in October 2020, but without including the Yazidis. According to the deal, YBS forces should withdraw from the city, but the agreement has not been carried out since the Yazidis reject the deal. 

Alias also clarified that Yazidi representatives have flown to Baghdad via helicopters to negotiate the situation in Sinjar with Iraqi government officials.  

"The IMF does not let the Iraqi army dismiss the YBS forces from Sinjar, thus the Iraqi government is not serious in forcing out the YBS from the area. Accordingly, the three sides have reached a deal to run joint checkpoints in the area," Qasm Shasho, a Sinajr commander in the KRG Peshmerga forces, told The New Arab in a phone interview. 

"I expect the recent deal is fragile and we will see skirmishes again. If there is a government in Iraq, it should force out YBS from Sinjar," he added.

The military commander of West Nineveh Operations on Wednesday said that the situation in Sinajr is "under control and stable". He also dismissed reports of widespread displacement from Sinjar and stressed that the Iraqi army will not let any "outlawed force" operate in the area.