Êzîdîs want to form their will in Shengal

After the gangs’ occupation of the humanitarian aid corridor on September 29, thousands of Êzîdîs in Mount Shengal displayed a historic resistance against gang attacks despite difficult winter conditions.

After the gangs’ occupation of the humanitarian aid corridor on September 29, thousands of Êzîdîs in Mount Shengal displayed a historic resistance against gang attacks despite difficult winter conditions.

ISIS gangs closed the humanitarian aid corridor in Shengal-Rojava between September 26 and 29, more than ten thousand Êzîdîs were trapped in Mount Shengal. Led by HPG/YJA Star guerrillas and YPG/YPJ fighters, Êzîdîs displayed a historic resistance against gang attacks and did not abandon Mount Shengal despite difficult winter conditions. ISIS gangs’ advance on Mount Shengal was stopped through the resistance of aforementioned forces between September 29 and December 19.


Guerillas and YBŞ forces displayed an important resistance and advanced from eastern to western Mount Shengal during October. They inflicted heavy blows on the gangs in Solak, Merkan, Şilo, and Barê regions, killing many gang members and repelling gang attempts to reach the mountain from Solak and Merkan. Tens of gangs were killed and large amounts of military equipment were seized during the heavy clashes that took place in Solak and Merhan during October. Guerrillas displayed a similar resistance to the west of the mountain in Şilo and Barê regions, killing more than 50 gangs. Guerrillas’ historical resistance in these two fronts frustrated the gangs’ dream of completing their massacre of Êzîdîs.


170 gang members were killed and 32 gangs were injured during the resistance from eastern to western Mount Shengal throughout October. In its October report, HPG Shengal Command had stated that ISIS continued its attacks on Mount Shengal throughout October, but HPG, YJA-Star and YBŞ fighters repelled ISIS attacks in Solak, Şilo Barê and Skinîye. 4 HPG guerillas and 2 YBŞ fighters fell as martyrs during the Shengal resistance in October.


Guerrillas had partially retreated in Barê area due to the intense ISIS attacks here in October. However, guerrillas soon carried out a comprehensive operation in Barê and Şilo regions, and took control of these areas after heavy clashes. Many gang members were killed and large amounts of guns and ammunition were seized during the clashes. After their defeat in Barê, ISIS gangs intensified their attacks on Skinîye, where HPG Shengal Command member Dilgeş Xweşmer and 4 other guerrillas fell as martyrs. 15 gang members were killed during the defense of Skinîye.


After the closure of the Rojava-Shengal humanitarian aid corridor, people’s communication with the outside world got cut off, and the struggle against winter conditions began. The lack of tents and food made life more difficult for the more than ten thousand Êzîdîs trapped in Mount Shengal.

Fighters of the Kurdish resistance forces who witnessed those days spoke to ANF.

YJA Star guerrilla Nergiz Şewêşkê said that they were encircled by ISIS after the gangs’ occupation of Digurê and the aid corridor. Despite the closure of the corridor, Şewêşkê and her comrades carried out assassination and sabotage attacks, but winter conditions and the lack of food were beginning to have a negative impact upon civilians. Children and old people were particularly affected, and 7 children suddenly died as winter arrived. Şewêşkê noted that there were not even enough clothing items to wrap around these children’s bodies, and hunger and winter conditions brought back the fear of death to civilians who were becoming more and more depressed.


Helîn Êzîdî is one of the YPJ commanders in Shengal, and said that people did not have access to clothes, shoes, or food after the closure of the aid corridor. Êzîdî recalled that all children were barefoot despite the bitter cold, and mothers transformed pasta into bread in order to feed their children. Êzîdî emphasized that people shared everything despite the poverty they were in, and prepared and ate food altogether. Guerrillas were bringing the food they had seized from nearby villages under ISIS control to Mount Shengal, but these efforts were not enough to prevent the almost daily deaths of children and old people in the mountain.


Êzîdî shared a memory of hers from the holiday in Mount Shengal, where children were happier than ever. One guerrilla had saved some biscuits for the holiday period, and broke these biscuits into pieces and mixed them with sugar on first day of the holiday. Children later came by in order to dip their fingers in the biscuit mix and celebrate guerrillas’ holiday.


TEVDA administrator Munzur Dêrsim stated that as people were resisting despite difficult conditions, KDP peshmergas were trying to rid Shengal of civilians and break the resistance of Êzîdî people. Dêrsim said that KDP helicopters were visiting Shengal three or four times a day during the winter, but officials in these helicopters were trying to evacuate the mountain as opposed to bringing food supplies to the starving people here. KDP officials were focusing on young people and trying to break the resistance in Mount Shengal by evacuating young people from the mountain. As a result of this dirty policy, many young people were sent to Turkey and Europe through South Kurdistan. However, many more stayed in Mount Shengal and have continued to resist until today.


HPG commander Serhat Efrîn witnessed KDP policies in Shengal and said that KDP was aiming to rid Shengal of civilians. Efrîn noted that KDP helicopters were working towards the evacuation Mount Shengal, and only the peshmergas in Shengal received food supplies. Efrîn stated that the people of Shengal displayed a historical resistance despite KDP pressures, and embraced the town and the life here.

YJA Star commander Sema Koçer said that the return of Êzîdî women enslaved by ISIS to Mount Shengal and the opening of academies despite all difficulties increased their morale, and noted that guerrillas were giving their shoes to children who were barefoot in difficult winter conditions. Koçer emphasized that people were resisting despite hunger and winter conditions, and the establishment of the Martyr Xanê Academy and the return of many Êzîdî women enslaved by ISIS to Mount Shengal increased the morale of guerrillas as well as the people.


Êzîdî women displayed an important resistance against gang attacks, and hundreds of Êzîdî women have been receiving self-defense training in the Martyr Xanê Academy of Shengal. After graduating from this academy, many Êzîdî women joined YBŞ and fought in the resistance against ISIS. YPJ commander Helin Êzîdî highlighted the morale the Martyr Xanê Academy gave to the people of Shengal, and said that many Êzîdî women including mothers have been receiving self-defense training here. Helin Êzîdî ended her statement by emphasizing the importance of self-defense training for all women in the fight against ISIS massacres.