In unison with Turkish operations in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Iraqi Army has invaded the predominantly-Yazidi region of Shengal (Sinjar) this week. On April 27, Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi appointed the governor of Mosul to administer Shengal region and subsequently relocated the 9th Armored Division to Shengal city. On May 1, the Iraqi Army began a full-scale invasion of Shengal region, targeting Yazidi defenders of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS). Given little to no warning of the invasion, many civilians in the region are trapped and unable to flee. At least one Iraqi soldier has been killed in the clashes thus far.
Shengal was hit hard by acts of genocide committed by ISIS in 2014. The Iraqi Army withdrew from Shengal, allowing ISIS to occupy the region while committing heinous crimes against humanity. The Yazidi community was then forced to liberate the region themselves, mobilizing with the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) which are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Iraqi Army, with training and munitions from NATO, is now attempting to drive out the same Yazidis who liberated the region from ISIS.
This is not the first time the Iraqi Army has attempted to coerce Yazidis in Shengal region, however. Occupying Shengal has been a priority of the Iraqi state since it abandoned the region in 2014. The Iraqi state has worked with Turkish forces to coordinate airstrikes and drone attacks on the region as well, maintaining a constant flow of state terrorism against the Yazidi community.