- Local officials say an airstrike has targeted a militant group in the Yazidi heartland of Sinjar in northern Iraq and attribute the attack to Turkey.
- The Kurdish semi-autonomous region’s counter-terrorism service said in a statement that three militants were killed in the attack and one wounded.
- A militia-affiliated city council member, however, denied there were any deaths, saying one civilian was slightly injured in the attack.
An airstrike on Tuesday targeted a militant group in the Yazidi heartland of Sinjar in northern Iraq, according to local officials, who blamed the attack on Turkey.
Officials have given conflicting reports on the number of casualties. The Kurdish semi-autonomous region’s counter-terrorism service said in a statement that three fighters were killed in the attack and one wounded. Ali Hamed, a city council member affiliated with the militia, however, denied there were any deaths, saying one civilian was slightly injured in the attack.
A drone strike around noon in Sinjar district hit a house often used by leaders of the Shingal resistance units, or YBS, Hamed said.
The mostly Yazidi minority group has been instrumental in driving Islamic State group militants out of the area after the collapse of the Iraqi army and the withdrawal of forces from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in 2014.
YBS has been a frequent target of Turkish attacks in recent years for its ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a separatist movement banned in Turkey and operating in northern Iraq.
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A Turkish defense ministry spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
The ongoing violence has hampered beleaguered efforts to return Yazidis to their ancestral homeland after years of violence and displacement.
Violent clashes last year between Yazidi militia and the Iraqi army in densely populated areas of the war-scarred district displaced as many as 10,000 people, many of whom had returned from displacement, according to Kurdish officials.
The YBS was created in 2014 with the support of the PKK in response to the IS takeover of Sinjar, during which an estimated 10,000 Yazidis were killed and captured in what the United Nations has classified as genocide.
“Today, whether they hit us with one missile, ten missiles or a hundred missiles, we will continue our return to our land, homes and property,” Hamed said.
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Tensions remain high among the meandering security forces operating in Sinjar. A UN-brokered power-sharing deal in October 2020 between Baghdad and the Kurdish government, in which the federal police is the sole state authority, has not caught on.