On the 16 and 17 of August 2021, Turkey conducted two airstrikes against Yezidis in Sinjar. The strikes killed 3 people in a car in the center of Sinjar, and killed another 9 people and injuring dozens targeting the health care center in Skenia village in southern Sinjar/northern Iraq
These two consecutive airstrikes against Yezidis disappointed so many returnees who had come back to Sinjar from the IDP camps in Kurdistan. Theyare now considering returning to the IDP camps if this situation continues.
Zaid Haji, one of the returnees to Sinjar says, “In general, the airstrikes make people lose trust inreturning to Sinjar because, in any moment, they might be the next target of an airstrike.” He added, “I will not let my family return to Sinjar, because not only the airstrikes are threatening the safety of the area, but also the different armed groups and militias are likely to create conflict at any moment and hurt the civilians.”
The Turkish airstrikes and unofficial armed groups in Sinjar cause great disruption to the security situation. This will obstruct the humanitarian support and work for the returnees, as many of them will have concerns about sending their employees to the field and work in Sinjar.
Hayat is an ISIS survivor. She says that “I depend on the support from NGOs to open job opportunities for me to raise my children. If the NGO work stops in Sinjar, so many people, including me, will not be able to live here because the safety and security of this area are not quite stable and might be disrupted at any moment.”
Even though Sinjar was liberated from ISIS 6 years ago, and thousands of families returned, the Iraqi government has not provided any type of support — whether financial compensation or rehabilitation and rebuilding of their houses and government institutions.
Despite all the suffering and challenges the Yezidis have experienced in Sinjar, the Turkish airstrikes are making them lose the last strand of hope they have had in returning to Sinjar.