Heavy clashes between Iraqi army and YBS near Sinjar: sources 

Heavy clashes between Iraqi army and YBS near Sinjar: sources 
The Iraqi army launched a large military operation to take over Sinjar and surrounding areas and weaken the control of Sinjar Resistance Units, sources told The New Arab on Monday
3 min read
02 May, 2022
The Iraqi army launches a large operation to take over Sinjar and surrounding areas from the control of Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), sources told The New Arab. [Getty]

The Iraqi army launched early today a military operation against YBS and Ezidxane Security Forces in the Sinune sub-district of Sinjar, reportedly to remove forces allied with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the Yazidi hometown and its surroundings, two sources told The New Arab. 

Sherwan al-Douberdani, a provincial deputy, told AFP that a soldier was killed, while a senior army official said two other soldiers were injured.

The clashes also cost the lives of half a dozen Yazidi fighters, said the officer, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

Douberdani said the Yazidis were refusing demands to pull out of Sinjar and for "the withdrawal of foreign agents," a reference to the PKK.

"Currently, there are heavy clashes taking place between the Iraqi army and the YBS forces inside Sinune sub-district, no casualties have been reported yet," Khudeda Alias, Chairman of the Autonomous Administration Council in Sinuny sub-district of Sinjar, had told The New Arab during a brief phone interview earlier on Monday.

"Nearly ten families were displaced from Sinune. The Iraqi army is using heavy artillery and tanks against YBS forces, Ezidxane Security Forces, and civilians as well. The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) that YBS and Ezidxane Security are part of are silent and did not take part in the battle," he added. 

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Currently, severe battles are taking place in the Sinune sub-district of Sinjar between the Iraqi army and the YBS forces, another source from Sinune told The New Arab on condition of anonymity. 

The New Arab contacted Iraq's Joint Operations Command spokesman Major General Tahsin Al-Khafaji, but he was not immediately available to comment. 

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, leaving the Yazidis to experience a genocidal campaign of killings, rape, abductions and enslavement by the ISIS militants. 

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Yazidis established the armed Sinjar Resistance Units (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 Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

Currently, there are eight different armed Iraqi forces, including the Iraqi army, federal and local police, border patrols, Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), Ezidxane Security and Peshmerga Forces, peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).  

The Iraqi federal government and the 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.