Iraqi paramilitary forces, the Hashd al-Shaabi militia, are demanding the Yezidi military forces lay down arms and have threatened them with force should they not comply. The Ezidixan Protection Forces commander, Haider Shasho, has stated that they will not disarm. Commander Shasho told local media that,
The Ezidixan Protection Forces is an official force and has been registered by the Ministry of Peshmerga. Those within the Hashd al-Shaabi attempting to prevent the movement of the Ezidixan Protection Forces are some known groups, and the officials of the Hashd al-Shaabi are unaware. We tell everyone that laying down weapons isn’t in our dictionary.”
When the Hashd al-Shaabi forces took over Kirkuk last October, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces left the Kirkuk and Shingal regions. The Ezidixan fall under the command of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Peshmerga. Despite the Peshmerga’s departure from the territories, the Yezidi Ezidixan forces remained. Commander Shasho added that the Yezidi people will never disarm again; the Yezidi people suffered the worst of the Islamic States atrocities in the previous conflict. Hashd al-Shaabi’s media representatives did not respond regarding the statements made on behalf of the Ezidixan Protection Forces.
Shingal Mayor Mahma Khalil addressed local media about U.S. military forces being stationed in Shingal after images of them began circulating on social media. Khalil said, “On Friday, a U.S. military unit was stationed in the Chel Mira area of Shingal with the aim of creating political stability there.”
U.S. military representative Col. Thomas Veale, the director of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, stated that this was incorrect though. Veale stated to press that this news was “bad reporting” and that,
So, a convoy was sighted and the purpose of that convoy was to go to a tactical area that was going to directly support Operation Roundup operations. So, that movement that was seen around Sinjar was specifically pertaining to Operation Roundup and has nothing to do with any other topic.”
Featured image: Soldiers from the Nineveh Plain Protection Unit patrol a mountainside during a react to contact training exercise at their training facility in the Nineveh Province, May 18, 2016. The NPPU are a small group of fighters who came together to protect their people in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Training focused on the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve overall mission to build partner capacity and increase the military capacity of local forces fighting ISIL. | U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Sergio Rangel