Liberation of Shingal is Liberation of Human Dignity
On November 12th the Operation Free Shingal was launched under the direct military supervision and planning of President Barzani, the Commander of Peshmerge Forces of Kurdistan. Due to the geographic complexity of the area and the cruelty of ISIS murderers, any military operation on Shingal requires a strong leadership and a large number of wellequipped Peshmerge. President Barzani has been preparing for this strategic operation for some time.
Since ISIS took Shingal, thousands of Ezidi Kurds have been displaced, hundreds have been murdered in mass, and hundreds of women and children were taken captive. Some are still missing. Over four thousand houses in the city were destroyed. Eleven mass graves have already been found in Sinuni Sub-district north of Shingal, which belongs to Ezidi victims. Additionally ISIS has destroyed 18 sacred Ezidi religious temples.
The operation was successful. Coalition warplanes intensely struck ISIS inside the city while Peshmerge surrounded Shingal, disrupting Highway 47 along the way. Highway 47 is the main artery of ISIS’s travel to Syria from Iraq. This is a huge loss for ISIS.
The international community watched intently as the Kurds retook Shingal, though this may place a pressure and disappointment on the Iraqi army and government for not being able to retake Anbar province and other areas as the Kurds have.
The Free Shingal operation shows that President Barzani can fruitfully lead the Peshmerge in defeating ISIS. The Peshmerge are a force that can certainly control the areas they’re fighting for. Shingal will now officially return to the Kurdistan Region and the Peshmerge will remain the symbol of unity they have been. Thousands of young people in Kurdistan showed their support for President Barzani and the Peshmerge’s efforts through TV channels and other media outlets.
While liberation of Shingal is important militarily and politically, it’s equally important psychologically and socially. It builds the trust, stability, self-confidence and respect in Ezidi Kurds while avenging their victims. This is a powerful step towards healing their deep wounds and the crimes committed against women, children, elderly and the young people of Shingal. This successful operation won back human dignity while protecting religious minorities in Kurdistan. It also makes the post-ISIS road map clearer in Iraq and the surrounding areas.