Turkish Airstrike Kills YBS Ezidis in Shingal

1/16/2020 1:29:06 PM

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Dr. Amy L. Beam
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Turkish military jets crossed into Iraq on Wednesday morning (January 15) and conducted two air strikes in Dugery, Shingal, at 10:40 a.m. local time. The settlement is located 3 km from Snoni on the north side of Shingal Mountain. Early reports suggest four Ezidis were killed and two others were injured. Ambulances transported the injured to Snoni Hospital.

I was there only six weeks ago to give winter coats to a woman and her children. Her husband had been killed by an ISIS IED explosion. Later on in December, the family was granted asylum in France because Dugery is not a safe place.

The strike on January 15 killed a Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) commander known as Zardashte. He was from the nearby town of Borek. The YBS is an Ezidi defense militia formed in 2014 after Islamic State (ISIS) attacked the Ezidis in Shingal.

The security situation for Shingal continues to grow more dangerous by the day as Turkey is allowed to conduct cross-border airstrikes in Shingal without objection from the Iraqi federal government, the Kurdistan Regional Government, or the international community.

In October 2019, Turkey conducted four airstrikes on the west end of the mountain in Khanasor and Barre, killing approximately 30 people.

On August 15, 2018, a Turkish airstrike near Barre targeted and killed Ezidi leader Mam Zeke after he attended the memorial service marking the fourth anniversary of ISIS' attack on Kocho.

The policy of the Kurdistan Regional Government is contributing to these deadly airstrikes by insisting the Ezidis in YBS are really Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members and that they must "leave Shingal." The PKK is the armed group in Turkey.

The YBS Ezids were born and grew up in Shingal. They are not terrorists. They have a right to live there and defend themselves and their land. I urgently call upon the Kurdistan Regional Government to stop its relentless attack upon YBS Ezidis and grant amnesty to all Ezidis in Shingal to enter Kurdistan.

The YBS members living in tents in Sardashte camp on Shingal Mountain are in fear for their lives. I have worked with them to distribute food, clothing, and other humanitarian aid to the displaced Ezidis. It is the YBS who have delivered free water to people on the mountain since ISIS attacked Shingal in 2014. Without the YBS, the people in the tents would have no water.

For the European courts who have been denying asylum to Ezidis from Dugury and neighboring villages, I urge them to understand that Shingal is in danger from Turkish airstrikes. Contrary to what the European courts are saying, it is NOT SAFE TO RETURN TO SHINGAL. The courts should grant asylum to Ezidis who are appealing their asylum denials.


Zardashte, a YBS leader killed in a Turkish airstrike on January 15, 2020


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily reflect those of NRT.