The political uncertainty has dissuaded many Yezidis from returning to their homes in Shingal. Rudaw photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The military presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Yezidi areas including the main city of Shingal has halted the reconstruction process of the war-scarred region and delayed the return of displaced people, according to prominent Yezidi figures who call on the Kurdish guerrilla group to retreat from the area.
Shingal Mayor Mahma Khalil and Yezidi member of the Iraqi Parliament Vian Dakhil also said that international bodies have delayed their reconstruction plans for the city of Shingal due to the PKK military presence which they view as “unlawful” and “foreign.”
“Several countries and organisations have already shown intention to help the recovery plans in Shingal, but since their donations are usually channelled through the Iraqi reconstruction funds and the United Nations partners in the country, no project has so far been implemented due to the presence of a foreign group such as the PKK,” Dakhil told Rudaw.
Mayor Khalil said that Shingal has suffered more atrocities, both human and material, than any other region in Iraq with entire communities torn apart and dislocated, which according to him will need years if not decades of reconstruction work and rehabilitation for the victims.
“PKK presence in Shingal blocks the reconstruction of the region and the return of refugees. Basically allied countries and international organisations won’t be engaged in any major humanitarian work since they see an unlawful group such as the PKK as a menace to their own staff,” Khalil told Rudaw.
Leading Iraqi and Kurdish officials including the Iraqi and Kurdish government as well as the US have called on PKK to withdraw armed troops from Yezidi areas on the Syrian border.
The PKK has so far rejected the calls and stated officially that it will leave the area “when local people are no longer in danger.”