Thousands Flee Iraq’s Sinjar as Army Moves Against Yazidis

One soldier, a dozen Yazidis killed in early clash

Some 3,000 civilians have fled the town of Sinjar, and its surrounding area, as the arrival of the Iraqi Army has led to violent clashes with local Yazidi militias, who the military intends to clear from the area.

A religious minority ethnically related to the Kurds, the Yazidis were heavily targeted by ISIS in past years, and that ended with them allied to the PKK movement, and forming their own militias.

Arming the Yazidis was far from a panacea for them, however, as now the Turkish government is launching attacks on the PKK in and around Iraq, while Iraq’s government itself is trying to pacify the Yazidi militias.

Early fighting has killed one soldier and at least 12 Yazidi fighters. The military says the offensive will continue until all Yazidi checkpoints are dismantled.

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.