Turkish strikes on Sinjar (2018)

On August 15, 2018 Turkish strikes on Sinjar were precise target-killing strikes on Sinjar's Kurdish Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ)'s political leadership. The air-sol strikes aimed and killed Yazidi-Kurdish and YBŞ-PKK high ranking political leader Zaki Shingali (Ismail Ozden) by bombing his YBŞ vehicle[2][1] and rescue vehicle.[3]

Operation Tigris Shield
Part of the Turkey-PKK conflict
Date15 August 2018
Location
Result Successfully kills YBŞ's political leader
Belligerents
 Turkey Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ)
Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK)
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Zaki Shingali (Ismail Ozden), KIA
Casualties and losses
5 killed:
Zaki Shingali (Ismail Ozden) and 4 others.[1]
Wounded :
- Tel Ezeir (Harbo), a member of the Self-Administrative Council.
- Mazlum Shingal (Haval Mazlum), the general commander of YBS in Shingal.

Turkish strikes on Sinjar (2018)

The Sinjar Kurds-Yazidis inhabited area may have been a flash point in recent years, with Iraqi Peshmerga, ISIS, YBŞ, PKK, Iraqi Army and militias battling for control over the area.

In August 2014, an offensive by ISIS upon Yazidis might have held towns and the surprise withdrawal of Peshmerga forces based there left the local communities severely out-powered by ISIS militants. Mass executions of men and enslavement of Yazidi women and children might have taken place, now probably referred as the Sinjar massacres and Yazidis genocide by ISIL. As locals took refuge in the hard-to-reach Sinjar Mountains, ISIS probably set siege of the mountain range. On 9–11 August, a joint offensive by Syrian-Kurds PKK-YPG and USAF might have broken the Sinjar siege and secured an escape corridor from the Sinjar mountains to Syria's autonomous Rojava area. Later, in December 2014, with PKK-affiliated and Peshmerga forces supported by USAF's air surveillance and military support probably took firm control of the area. YPG might have taken control of Yazidi area and kept both ISIS and Peshmerga forces at bay, continuing the building of local, PKK-inspired Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ). These YBŞ were led by Sheikh Khairy Khedr (d. 2014) and Zaki Shingali (d. 2018), himself referring to Qandil's PKK leadership.

In July 2015, the Turkey-PKK Solution process, a ceasefire initiated in early 2013, ended.[4] Turkey resumed war with Turkey's PKK[4] and all alleged affiliated forces, in Turkey and abroad, including Syrian-Kurdish YPG and Syrian Democratic Forces, and Iraqi-Sinjar Kurdish-Yazidi Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ).

On 14 August, Turkey's President Erdogan claimed to have reached an understanding with Baghdad's leadership to allow his anti-PKK operations in Iraq.[4] Turkey's people successfully killed the YBŞ's political leader, which was targeted.

The strikes

The strikes occurred on August 15, 2018.[4] Turkey's drones initially wanted to bomb Singal's camp but eventually targeted his convoy instead, due to local intelligence and drone surveillance.[5] The US may have provided intelligence to their Turkey allies.[6] A video of the strike has since been published, showing the Turkish army's drone tracking and firing on two cars. When Shingali's car stopped by the road's side, a drone targeted and hit the car.[3] People rushed in, and are seen moving the wounded or dead to a second car. The second car, transporting Shingali, was targeted by the Turkish drone in turn, and destroyed.[3]

Reactions

  • Yazidis: Singali is considered a hero to many Yazidis, due to his 2014 leadership in breaking Mount Sinjar siege and leading its following emergency evacuation against ongoing ISIS, summary executions of men and enslavement of Yazidi women and children, since referred to as the 2014 Sinjar massacre.[2]
  • UN Nikki Haley commented: "Today Turkey carried several air strikes in different locations in Sinjar. Sinjar continues to be a war zone. How can Yazidis recover from this genocide, or go back home?".[7]
  • Iraq, Ahmed Mahjoob, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry: "The Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemns the Turkish airstrikes on Sinjar within the civilian-populated areas".[8]
  • Turkey, Turkish army General staff: "Ismail Ozden, a member of the PKK executive committee and the terrorist group's senior figure in Sinjar … was eliminated during an operation conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces and intelligence on August 15."[4]

References

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