Yazidi genocide survivors call for US to stop Turkey bombing Sinjar

Issue 
Protest march of Yazidi women in the Sinjar Mountains on the first anniversary of the Islamic State group massacre. Photo: Dilar Dirik

The Yazidi minority community in Sinjar, Iraq, is still recovering from the horrendous 2014 genocide by Islamic State (IS) terrorists. Yet, on January 15, it was the target of another deadly airstrike by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's dictatorial regime.

Four members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) were killed in this latest Turkish assault.

YBS fighters have received training and support from the People's Protection Units (YPG), the famous freedom fighters, who led the Rojava Revolution in north-east Syria and helped liberate Sinjar from IS in 2015.

According to the United Nations and other agencies, about 5000 Yazidi men were massacred by IS in the 2014 genocide. Up to 7000 women and children were abducted, many of whom were subsequently sold as sex slaves.

Kurdish freedom fighters have freed about 3000 of these women and children, but many others have yet to be located.

Some survivors have joined the YBS, which has since adopted the Rojava Revolution's principle of relying on their own self-governing armed forces.

YBS fighters have been part of the fight to defeat IS and have sacrificed hundreds of fighters in this struggle. Yet, according to a January 15 statement by the Ezidi Council of Sinjar (the governing body of this autonomous territory), even after that sacrifice "we received no support from the United States, the UN or the European community for reconstruction or the further fight against IS”.

"Without the YBS, it would not be possible for 140,000 Yazidis to return to their homeland in the Sinjar region”, the statement said.

"Turkey states that we are PKK. We are not. The US confirmed officially that the PKK left Sinjar and the YBS is part of the Iraqi army.

“The Turkish government wants to continue the genocide of the Yazidis’ religion and empty the Sinjar region. 

"Turkey wants to force all ethnicities and religious groups to become its proxies and servants. We refuse, and that is why Turkey has decided to wipe us out.”

The US Air Force controls the airspace above Iraq, so any attacks on Sinjar by Turkey can only happen with US support or acquiescence. Therefore, the Council is calling on the US to close northern Iraqi airspace, particularly around Sinjar, to the Turkish state with immediate effect, thereby stopping future Turkish air strikes.

Ismet Tashtan, co-chair of the Federation of Democratic Kurdish Society in Australia, told Green Left that the Yazidi community in Australia, who were mostly highly traumatised survivors of the 2014 genocide, are calling on the Australian government to raise the demand for a no-fly zone with the US.

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