ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — In a meeting between Shingal Mayor Mahma Khalil and the Hoshang Mohammed, Director General of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Joint Crisis Coordination Center, the leaders agreed to develop an action plan to hold a one-day workshop in Duhok in March regarding the stabilizing and restoration of Shingal.
“Our talks with the mayor centered around three topics affecting the areas and people of Shingal,” Hoshang told Rudaw English about Monday’s meeting in Erbil. “We agreed on an action plan to develop these through a one-day workshop in early March.”
The mountainous Shingal region is located in northern Nineveh province with outlying areas in Duhok province and predominately has been inhabited by Yezidis, who were persecuted by ISIS, including the killing of about 5,000 Yezidi men in August of 2014 and the ensuing Mount Shingal siege which left about 50,000 Yezidis trapped.
“The first of the topics planned is developing a plan for the restoration of the public services and priority projects for this year,” Hoshang said.
Hoshang said about 350,000 people from Shingal have been displaced since ISIS came in 2014, adding that 1,800 Yezidis are still missing, and 5,858 women and children have been enslaved by the group.
“The second item is livelihood support for the internally displaced persons in the Kurdistan Region … We will work together determine their needs,” Hoshang added.
The third point discussed was Romania’s offer to provide medical and psychological services to the victims of ISIS. The KRG repeatedly has called on the international community to provide such care, which isn’t available locally.
“The plan is for them to receive treatment in Romania and then return,” Hoshang said explaining that paperwork is being processed for “hundreds” of victims to receive care.
After the March workshop, the KRG will attempt to coordinate with foreign and international partners to provide the requisite services.
“There are not criteria for how Baghdad is deciding on the distribution of available funds to areas destroyed by ISIS,” Hoshang explained. “One-third of the country is destroyed, the distribution of funds to rebuild these areas needs to be done equally and fairly.
“The funds were budgeted by Baghdad in 2017, but they aren’t available. The highest levels of the interior in Erbil proposed a council with Baghdad based on two criteria: fund distributions and the identification of projects. But nothing has materialized.”
Yezidis have expressed concern about the security of Shingal, where the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) maintains a presence.
“Security is being dealt with at highest levels between Erbil, Baghdad and the coalition,” Hoshang said.
Iraq’s Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi said this week that the central government’s financial support to members of the terrorist organization would be stopped.
“Their [PKK members’] salaries were stopped as well as the support that went to a Yezidi group formed by the PKK,” Nujaifi told Rudaw TV in an interview. “To my knowledge, this was solved under American supervision.”
Kurdish leaders have said PKK should leave the area and allow the people of Shingal to choose how they want to be protected.