Ezidi resistance fighters told ezidiPress that ISIS terrorists have again surrounded Mount Sinjar, threatening thousands of people still located there. According to the fighters, over 7,000 people remained in the mountains and rejected to leave their home and villages behind. Surrounded by ISIS, their situation seems to deteriorate as Sinjar´s Protection Forces had to withdraw to Mount Sinjar.
“The situation is very bad. A further massacre against the people in the mountains is imminent if we don´t get serious help now”, said a fighter of the Ezidi defense unit HPS. A military offensive for the support of Ezidis in Sinjar which had been announced by the Peshmerga and Kurdish President Barzani has not been launched yet – apparently to urge the Ezidis to make political concessions. In a meeting held at the pilgrimage site Sharfadeen which had been attended by both commanders and tribe leaders a week ago, Ezidis came to the decision that Sinjar region would be governed by Ezidis themselves, so that no political party could affect the Ezidis´ fate and region in the future. However, a participation of the political parties had not been refused by the attendees.
The decision seemed to be particularly a thorn in the side of the KDP, the ruling party in the autonomous region of Kurdistan. In the past, it tried to gain the political supremacy over Sinjar, but struggled to invest in the disputed region when it came down to questions of infrastructure and education. Resistance fighters and Ezidi commanders therefore make serious allegations against the KDP leadership: “The Peshmerga doesn´t want to help us because we don´t want our HPS force to subordinate to their forces on the one hand, while on the other hand our commanders refuse to become KDP members. We are surrounded by ISIS fighters and the Peshmerga troops just don´t want to march in to help us. Ezidi volunteers who want to join us are not able to reach us because all the roads are blocked by ISIS. People in the mountains run out of water. There is also a lack of food again. Many get just one piece of bread a day”, a HPS fighter said.
The HPS is the largest Ezidi resistance unit in Sinjar . Its general Qasim Shesho is often labelled as a Peshmerga officer in KDP affilitaed media, however, he rejected those claims in an interview with the Kurdish media outlet Rudaw. In addition, the supreme commander Haydar Shesho stated that Ezidis would not bow to anyone, which has been the reason for the current situation in Sinjar. Around 10,000 Peshmerga fighters retreated without a fight as ISIS terrorists overran the region on August 3. Prior to that, Ezidis had been disarmed by the Peshmerga which had promised them to care for their safety. As a result of their failure Ezidis formed militias, including the HPS, to defend themselves.
“They lie to all of us. They lie about us in the media. They don´t want to help us because we don´t want to relinquish the HPS to them”, said another HPS fighter.
Despite the genocide and the danger of further massacres it is being fought for political influence in Sinjar. Supreme Commander Haydar Shesho said in a stament: “Sinjar is open to all political parties, especially the Kurdish ones. But we will not bow to anyone. Everything that happens in Sinjar has to be in the interest of Ezidis.” Deliveries of weapons by helicopter were primarily directed at the few dozen Peshmerga soldiers in the mountains, Shesho claimed.
The KDP leadership fears that the YPG´s and PKK´s influence in Sinjar will intensify due to their help for the Ezidis and is therefore trying to counteract. In an interview with Rudaw the HPS General commented on its group´s relations to political parties: “The meaning of the name Peshmerga is sacred. They have dishonored the name as they fled. All parties are welcome to Sinjar once the region has been liberated. We are not enemies of any party.”