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  • Writer's pictureMECRA

Situation in Iraq's Sinjar region remains combustible


Yazidi IDPs in tents on Sinjar (Seth J. Frantzman)
Yezidi IDPs in tents on Sinjar (Seth J. Frantzman)

On June 1 a convoy of US military armoured vehicles passed through the Sinjar region in northern Iraq. The sight of the vehicles briefly instilled hope in the Yezidis there that the United States was establishing a military presence in the region that would guarantee their security. A Yezidi official in the region even claimed that the US would build a base there.

It was not to be. The Americans were simply passing through to assist the campaign against Islamic State (ISIS) in neighbouring Syria. The war-weary Yezidis*, whose security situation remains precarious, were distraught.

The war-weary Yezidis, whose security situation remains precarious, were distraught

Qasim Shesho, the commander of the Yezidi Peshmerga forces in the region told MECRA that he, and the forces under his command, "wanted from the bottom of our hearts that the news about American forces in Shingal were to be true”, adding that they were disappointed that it ultimately amounted to mere “rumours.”

While the US military has focused largely on fighting ISIS it did deploy armoured vehicles in the Syrian Arab city of Manbij, controlled by Syrian Kurdish forces, in March 2017 to prevent any clashes between them and nearby Turkish-backed fighters. Yezidis were likely hoping for a similar deployment in their region.

Paul Iddon looks at the latest crises affecting the Sinjar region

The Yezidis were infamously subjected to a campaign of genocide at the hands of Islamic State that began in August 2014. Sinjar was occupied by the militants from that period until November 2015 when the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)'s Peshmerga forces recaptured the city with the help of the US-led coalition against ISIS.

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