Turkish warplanes target Sinjar twice in five days

Suspected Turkish warplanes launched an airstrike for the second time within five days in the Yazidi heartland of Shingal (Sinjar) district on Saturday with no casualties reported, Yazidi activists and groups said.

Turkey bombed the town of Khanasor on the Syrian border targeting a building that was used by the Autonomous Administration Council of Shingal, established by Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), for meetings, Murad Ismael, co-founder of Sinjar Academy and a Yazidi activist said in a tweet.

“This building is one few good building in the town and was used before ISIS for social and political activities, weddings,” he said referring to the Islamic State by its acronym.  “In addition to the horror this strike caused, and assuming no casualties, this building worthed 200,000 dollars and it’s gone now,” he added.

The district has been hit by multiple Turkish airstrikes in recent years, which appeared to have given more reasons to the displaced Yezidis not to return from camps in the Kurdistan region to their ancestral homeland. Ankara justifies its strikes by claiming Mount Shingal is host to a number of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions and considers YBS to be linked to them.

The Free Yezidi Foundation called out the international community to stop Turkey. “How many Yezidis must die before Turkey is stopped?” The NGO said in a tweet. They added that ISIS “came to eradicate the #Yazidi on land; now Turkish places + drones attack from above.”

Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis fled their homes in the summer of 2014, seeking shelter on Mount Shingal, and then in the Kurdistan Region with a limited number resettled in Europe and North America. In the first days of the genocide, 1,293 people were killed and over 6,000 people were abducted, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Office for Rescuing Kidnapped Yazidis. Over 2,000 remain missing.

Five days ago, a commander of YBS, Marwan Badal Haji was killed in a Turkish airstrike in the same town a stronghold of YBS. He was traveling in a vehicle accompanied by two of his children who survived the attack. Marwan was known as Haval Dezhwar amongst the locals and hailed from the same area.

Earlier in August, a Turkish airstrike killed two members of the YBS, including a senior commander and three civilians. Another airstrike hit a hospital in Shingal a day later, killing four care workers and four YBS fighters.

Yet, the targeting of structures and locations also used by civilians should always be condemned by the international community.

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