3rd August 2014
Today, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) overran the city of Sinjar and the two towns of Rabia and Zumar with no defence being reportedly offered by the KDP peshmergas. This is despite the fact that Mr. Barzani promised the residents on his visit a few days ago to Sinjar province that he would protect them. Residents of these towns and Sinjar question why no reasonable defence was offered.
The capture by ISIS of these areas poses the severest of threats to not just the local inhabitants but also the population of the city of Hassaka on the Syrian border. To some observers, the clear failure by the KDP to defend Sinjar, Rabia and Zumar now provides a springboard for ISIS to attack Hassaka in Syria.
Hassaka, already under assault from extremist forces, must be defended at all costs. Just two months ago, Amnesty International had detailed the murder of 15 civilians in the village of al-Tleiliye in al Hassaka governorate, “believed to have been carried out by members of the ISIS armed group … Arab farming families were targeted, apparently for their perceived support of … the People’s Protection Unit [of Rojava – YPG, providing defence of the area] – or because they were mistaken for Yezidi Kurds … Yezidis are regarded as infidels by ISIS”.i
The undefended Sinjar, Rabia and Zumar fell even as local news reports suggest that heavy arms shipments have arrived at Erbil airport. But many question to what purpose these shipments are being provided when no ostensible defence was provided by KDP peshmergas against ISIS forces when they overran Sinjar, Rabia and Zumar.
We call on all concerned members of the public and public interest organisations to reflect upon these matters and raise their concerns over what is happening. Yezidis, women, Christians and ‘Others’ now face targeting by ISIS in a number of ways. As an article dated 25th July 2014 in e-Kurd.net highlights: “Former Member of the European Parliament, Feleknaz Uca, recalling the massacre of 400 Yazidi Kurds in 2007, said there is the threat of a similar massacre being carried out today. She said the ISIS militants had distributed leaflets inviting the people to become Moslems, adding: ‘I gather the leaflets say: We will come to drink your tea on the day of the feast, there is no need to kill you, we are establishing an Islamic state, you will have to become Moslems’”.ii
The Mayor of Mosul today stated that if urgent help is not given to Yezidis, there will be a massacre. We call on the international community to pass a resolution to protect the minorities but without cynically using ‘them’ to pursue the ‘deep political’ and publicly unaccountable geopolitical agendas of the ‘superpowers’. We call on all regional communities and democratic movements to stand united against ISIS. We call on everyone to try to stop their governments from directly or indirectly arming or supporting ISIS.
Adnan Kochar, Chair of the Kurdish Cultural Centre, London.
Hawzheen Babataher – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Karam Kurda – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Hoshmand Jaff – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Ranja Faraj – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Lira Sakri – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Birzi Saleh – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Dounia Hendrin – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Hawri Ahmed – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Miran Saleh – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Soma Fershi – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Bakhtyiar Ahmed – Board member of ‘Kurdish Unity’.
Desmond Fernandes – Genocide scholar.
Attila Tuygan – Translator.
Margaret Owen, O.B.E. – Patron of Peace in Kurdistan.
Wilson Chowdhry – Chair of the British Pakistani Christian Association.
Dr. Eddie D’Sa – Retired academic, having taught for 20 years in mostly overseas universities (East Africa and the Pacific).
Jas Uppal – Justice Upheld (www.justiceupheld.org).
Mark Campbell – pro-Kurdish activist.
Bernard Nazarian – Armenian Genocide Centenary Committee.
Saleh Mamon – Visiting Research Fellow, Goldsmith’s College, London.
Eilian Williams – Solidarity with the Victims of All Genocides.
iAmnesty International (2014) ‘Syria: seven children among 15 civilians summarily ‘killed by ISIS’ in feud with Kurds’, AI, 5 June 2014 (accessed at: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/syria-seven-children-among-15-civilians-summarily-killed-isis-feud-kurds).
ii‘Isis threatens to forcibly Islamise Yazidi Kurds in Iraq’s Sinjar’, 25 July 2014 (accessed at: http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2014/7/kurdsiniraq238.htm).