Are Turkish airstrikes on Sinjar just part of the Yazidi genocide, or is this Turkey’s new political tactic?

Last night was a tough night for Sinjar City and the Yazidi community that lives there. Turkish warplanes bombed the area with 40 airstrikes that caused injuries to 3 civilians who were working in their fields near the Sinjar Mountain. 

According to the local people, four points were targeted, including Chilmeran where one of the Yazidi temples is located. Turkey announced a military campaign last night in Sinjar, Makhmur, and Qandil, claiming that they are chasing PKK members who have been placed in these three locations. However, the Yazidi people who have been facing an ongoing genocide since 2014, have another perspective about this campaign.

The timing of the campaign is questioned by the people in Sinjar. In the last few days, many Yazidi families decided to return to the city of Sinjar after spending six years in refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan. These airstrikes at this particular time have made the Yazidi people believe that this is nothing but a threat for the people to not return to the city. Although this is not the first time Turkey bombs this city that is trying to heal from a genocide, the airstrikes last night were the heaviest to date. If it is in fact the case that Turkey does not want people to return to Sinjar, what are the reasons?  What are the possible benefits that Turkey may get from it?

Sinjar is known to be one of the cities with a long and open border with Syria. The Syrian side of the border is under the control of the YPG Kurdish forces, which Turkey defines as terrorist. So by attacking Sinjar, perhaps Turkey wants to put embargoes on Rojava from the Iraqi side too. Why then would  it be important for Turkey to keep Sinjar empty of its native people? 

Turkey is aware of the fact that there is a focus on Sinjar from the international community. So announcing a war against Sinjar, which hasn’t yet healed from the genocide destruction, is not easy. By keeping Sinjar empty, it is easier for Turkey to convince the international community and Iraqi government that having PKK in the city is the reason people have not returned.

Reasons may vary, but the results are too much the same. The Yazidi people, who need a lot of help to heal from the consequences of genocide, are now facing difficulty living in Sinjar because of these continuous attacks fromTurkey. 

Civilians are always the main victims of these unfair wars. 

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