Shengal against increasing Iraqi military activity: “We will defend our land”
Responding to the increasing military activities of the Iraqi army, the Shengal Autonomous Administration called for popular organization and unity, and vowed to defend an autonomous and free Shengal.
2 Yazidi civilians lost their lives and 27 others were injured in an accidental collision between a military water supply tank and a student shuttle vehicle in Shengal (Sinjar) town in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) yesterday, January 16.
The Shengal Autonomous Administration made a statement on Monday commenting on the recent events in the region.
'CONTINUATION OF THE OCTOBER 9 AGREEMENT'
The Shengal Autonomous Administration said that the recent military mobility was aimed for the security of Shengal but could not secure the town. According to the Autonomous Administration, the developments are a continuation of the October 9, 2020 agreement signed between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP-ruling party in South Kurdistan) and Al-Kadhimi government (central Iraqi government). The Autonomous Administration called on international powers to prevent military escalation and to promote solutions based on an autonomous administration in Shengal.
The statement includes the following:
“As it is known, in an accident that occurred in Shengal yesterday, 2 students named Leyt Dexil and Sebri Kiçan from the Khanasor town lost their lives and 27 other people were injured. We offer our condolences to the entire Yazidi community, specifically the families of victims and the Heliqi and Bazoyiyan tribes, and wish the injured a quick recovery.
Although it may seem ordinary in the first place, we would like to point out that the accident that occurred yesterday was not an ordinary one, since the accident was caused by a military vehicle. We would like to inform the public that hundreds of military vehicles have been dispatched to Shengal and all public areas recently. The Iraqi army has undertaken serious military activity in the town. This accident occurred because of this military mobility.
We would also like to draw public attention to the images recorded at the time of the accident. Footage circulated on the social media and the news showed Iraqi soldiers cheering at the scene of the accident as if they were in a celebration. These images show us how deep the hostility towards the Yazidi people is. ISIS members were also celebrating over our martyrs during the Yazidi genocide in August 2014. So, we are asking the Al-Kadhimi government: why are the soldiers under your command so happy about the death of Yazidis?
Recently, a large military force has been dispatched to Shengal. The public is wondering what's going on in Shengal. The Al-Kadhimi government has tasked the Iraqi army with deploying a large military force to Shengal for no apparent reasons under the pretext of security. Currently, hundreds of military vehicles are stationed in Shengal.
Although military forces have been dispatched to Shengal for alleged security reasons, we know that this is a continuation of the October 9 agreement. Attempts are taking place to create serious provocations in the Yazidi town. They want to station their military forces in Shengal for different reasons. We would like to remind the public that an election was held in Iraq and the new government has not been formed yet. At such a time marked by political crisis and vacancy, the KDP and Al-Kadhimi government turn their steps towards Shengal by taking advantage of the existing power vacuum.
On behalf of whom is this military mobility exercised? We believe that a military escalation will benefit neither Shengal nor the Iraqi central government. It only serves the interests of the KDP and the Al-Kadhimi government. They want to implement the October 9 agreement signed between the KDP, Al-Kadhimi government and the Turkish state amid such a political crisis. The recent military mobility is a serious provocation attempt, and we are aware of the plans that are intended to be introduced. As ever, we will not allow such plans and provocations to succeed.
Another tension created by the KDP relates to the statements of Majid Shengali, one of the KDP parliamentarians. We know well that he is speaking not personally but on behalf of the KDP. He made remarks about the statue of Martyr Zerdeşt Shengali and said, 'We will not allow the statue of someone who does not represent Shengal to be erected'. Moreover, some of his other remarks seek to create a conflict between faiths and religions. We respond to the KDP and Majid Shengali; Martyr Zerdeşt Shengali was freeheartedly martyred for Shengal. He fought the atrocities of ISIS while the KDP forces were not even in Shengal during the genocide of the Yazidis. Instead, they were living happily in Hewler (Erbil) and other towns. So, who is it that represents Shengal? Those who escaped from Shengal for the safety of their life and property, or those who died for Shengal? Therefore, people like Majid Shengali can neither represent Shengal nor speak on behalf of it.
We appeal to the entire Yazidi community and all the people of Shengal against new plans and plots aimed for Shengal. Our people must remain vigilant in the face of these plans and provocations. They must be organized and united. We need to unite stronger than ever and protect an autonomous and free Shengal.
We appeal to all Iraqi political powers. Currently, negotiations are being carried out to form a new government. We do not know what the result will be, but as the Shengal Autonomous Administration, we would like to inform all parties that we are in favour of a solution. We would like to express that we are ready to resolve our problems based on the recognition of an autonomous Shengal. However, it should be known that the October 9 agreement is not a solution agreement, but a war agreement. All Iraqi political forces need to understand this and reject attempts to cause hostilities in Shengal. Fighting Shengal will not strengthen Iraq, but finding a solution for Shengal will.
In this context, we appeal to all countries, forces of democracy, supporters of freedom and international forces; everyone should act according to their conscience when dealing with Shengal. We are a people who have been subjected to massacres over the centuries. We want to live in our own ancient and holy land under an autonomous administration. This is a genuine solution for both Shengal and Iraq. International powers should not support hostilities and should opt for solutions.
We once again pledge our words to all our martyrs in the person of the great commander Martyr Zerdeşt: We will defend an autonomous and free Shengal whatever it takes.”