Following about four days of heavy fighting between the Iraqi Army and Yazidi forces in Shengal (Sinjar) region, a PMU-brokered ceasefire deal has been reached. The Iraqi Army has reportedly withdrawn after agreeing to run joint checkpoints in disputed areas. The Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) hold a partnership with the mostly Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), YBS officially a unit within the PMU since 2017. PMU has often been the primary mediator in negotiations between YBS and the Iraqi state on Shengal region.
10,000 people have reportedly been displaced in this latest Iraqi invasion of Shengal, predominantly members of the marginalized Yazidi community. At least one Iraqi soldier was killed and two wounded in the clashes. One YBS fighter was also confirmed killed. Iraqi state-aligned sources claim two other YBS snipers were killed in an airstrike, however this is unconfirmed.
The ceasefire is unstable and not expected to last, especially given newfound support of Iraqi forces from the Turkey-backed Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), led by the Barzani family. The KDP is the sole Kurdish party to have supported Baathist actions in its history, allying with Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi state in 1996 to defeat the Iran-backed Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) during the main phase of the Kurdish Civil War.
Now in 2022, the KDP has supported neo-Baathist policies in the Iraqi state occupation of Shengal, adding a new layer of challenges for the Yazidi community. NATO continues to train and arm both the Iraqi Army and the KDP. This support is nominally intended to combat ISIS cells but is abused far more often against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and associated forces than against ISIS.