12/06/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Iraq’s Joint Operations Command announced on Thursday that Nineveh’s Sinjar District is now free of armed groups as part of the plan to normalize the situation. The Nineveh Governorate experienced an influx of competing armed groups following the defeat of ISIS, which has been a significant deterrent to potential returnees who view their presence as a security concern.
This announcement is part of the implementation of the recently agreed to Sinjar deal between Iraq’s Central Government and the KRG. The entire Nineveh Governorate is disputed between the two entities, a situation which has had especially negative effects in the Sinjar District as the governorate seeks to rebuild following the ISIS genocide. The Sinjar deal was not universally welcomed by the local community, but for those who did, there is some hope that it could serve as a template for solving similar issues in Nineveh’s other districts.
Historically, Nineveh is the most religiously diverse governorate in Iraq. Most of the country’s Christian presence lived in Nineveh before they were driven out by the ISIS genocide. In some areas, they have returned. In Sinjar, which is home to the Yazidis, few if any have returned. Both communities have repeatedly complained of harassment and intimidation from the armed groups who gained the territory as part of defeating ISIS.