YBŞ commander Çeko: "We did not start the war, but we have the right to protect our people"

Pir Çeko, one of the YBŞ commanders, said: "We did not start the war, but we have the right to protect our people from massacres."

On 18 April, the Iraqi military attacks on the Shengal region began. On 2 May, the attacks in Sinûnê and Digor increased. After talks, the guns have been silent for a week, although the southern Kurdish party KDP has repeatedly tried to pressure Iraq to resume attacks. The RojNews news agency spoke to Pir Çeko, one of the commanders of the Shengal Resistance Units (YBŞ), about the developments and the war. Regarding the causes of the attacks, Çeko said: "We want the public opinion to understand that the KDP, the Barzani family and Turkey regard Shengal as a strategic region and are trying to further implement their plans."

"Shengal was saved by the martyrs"

Pir Çeko warned of the occupation of Shengal and a new genocide and added: "In the face of the recent attacks, the enemy must be aware that our people have a will and a military force and are organized. Shengal was rescued from the martyrs and will be liberated with the martyrs.”

"The KDP resorts to dirty methods"

Pir Çeko said that Turkey, the KDP and "a few people who have sold their dignity" are putting the region in grave danger. It is the task of the YBŞ to protect Shengal. The commander continued: “The KDP resorts to many dirty methods to implement its plans for Shengal. The KDP starts in the political, social and military areas. Our people must be aware of this and act vigilantly. Those who betrayed us once will always betray us and will never stand up for us.”

"People in Shengal make their own decisions about their future"

Çeko sees a connection between the aggression of the KDP, Turkey and the Iraqi government and said: "We will resist any attack and will never bow to anyone. We are not against Iraq, but we are against the decisions that are being imposed on the Iraqi government from outside. Because our people are falling victim to these decisions and these policies. We will not allow decisions about the future of Shengal to be made from outside. Only the people of Shengal can determine their own destiny. We will not allow anything different.”

"Behind the war are external forces"

Çeko saw primarily Turkey and the KDP behind the current attacks. The forces sent by them to the Shengal region are under the influence of these forces. “Unfortunately, certain people speak on behalf of the Yazidis. But these people do not belong to Shengal and do not represent the people of the region. They have moved far away from the Yazidi identity. These individuals spread fear among the population and claim that thousands left Shengal, but this is not true. Some of the families who left Shengal are now returning home. Behind this policy is a plan by the KDP. She has no right to make decisions about Shengal again.”

"The KDP should give up Shengal and do something against the Turkish invasion"

The YBŞ commander warned the KDP: “It is not the task of the KDP to intervene in Shengal. Instead, it is their duty to stand up to the Turkish state and prevent invasion attacks on southern Kurdistan. Those who describe our forces as 'unofficial forces' should also be well aware that the Turkish army's bases in Iraq and South Kurdistan are illegal. Even if the Turkish forces are supported by the Barzani family, this contradicts the decisions of the Iraqi government. The presence of these forces poses a threat to Iraq and especially to the Yazidi people.”

“We have the right to defend ourselves”

Regarding the legitimacy of self-defense and the security forces of the Shengal's autonomous administration, Çeko said: "There are regional security forces everywhere in Iraq, everyone is defending themselves. As the Yazidi population, we have the right to defend ourselves and prevent massacres. We say again: we will always resist and defend ourselves against those who want to destroy us. We didn't want a war. We didn't start it. But we have the right to defend our people as we have done before."