Iraq’s Yazidis Fear Turkey’s Offensive Threatens Stability

Yazidi units, allied with PKK, seen as a target

Turkey is presenting its new offensive in Iraq as against the banned Kurdish PKK, a Turkish group. Both Iraq’s central government and Kurdistan Regional Government seem not to be objecting, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t concerns within Iraq.

Iraq’s ethnic Yazidi minority looks to be right in the middle of this fight, reporting two civilians wounded in Sinjar. The fighting wasn’t directly with Turkey, but rather with Iraq’s Army.

Dating back to the ISIS caliphate fighting around Sinjar, the Yazidis were heavily persecuted for a religion some Islamists object to. The minority formed militias to try to defend themselves, and aligned with Kurdish groups, mostly the PKK.

In a fight against the elusive PKK, this makes the Yazidis a very visible target, and while objecting to their mistreatment was an easy way to vilify ISIS, it remains to be seen if anyone objects to NATO-member Turkey going after them in the course of a fight everyone already is more or less comfortable with.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.