Assyrian, Yezidi and Shabak Villages Are Now Under Kurdish Control in North Iraq
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Kurdish flag flies above an Iraqi government building in the Assyrian town of Alqosh, North Iraq.
Alqosh, Iraq (AINA) -- Since 2003, security for villages in north Iraq has been provided by a joint police force of Iraqis and Kurds. The Iraqi police were comprised of mostly Arabs with some Assyrians. The Kurdish police were comprised of Kurds. When Mosul fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on June 11, Arab members of the Iraqi police stationed in Assyrian villages throughout north Iraq abandoned their positions, leaving only the Kurds and the few Assyrians to protect the villages against ISIS.

The Kurds seized the opportunity and took control of Assyrian villages, as well as the villages of Yezidis and Shabaks, raising Kurdish flags on government buildings and checkpoints.

The following Assyrian villages are now effectively controlled by Kurds:

  • Alqosh
  • Qaraqosh
  • Bartella
  • Karemlesh
  • Baashiqa
  • Tel Keppeh
  • Telsqop
  • Batnaya
  • Baghdeda
  • Ainsifneh/Shekhan
  • Sharafya
  • Dashqutan
  • Karanjo
  • Pirozawa

The Shabak village of Sadah and other Shabak villages near Tel Keppeh as well as Shabak villages near Baghdeda are now under Kurdish control. Yezidi villages in these same areas are also now under Kurdish control.

Kurdish flag at the checkpoint on the road to the Assyrian town of Alqosh, north Iraq.

In the Assyrian town of Alqosh, the local council, which is under the control of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), voted yesterday to remove the Assyrian chairman, Faiz Abed Jahwareh, and replace him with a Kurdish man who is a member of the KDP. Mr. Jahwareh, who is a member of the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM), was widely supported by the town residents and was responsible for the administration of Alqosh and a number of smaller Assyrian and Yezidi villages in the surrounding area.

While welcoming the protection of the Kurdish forces, Assyrians have never-the-less expressed grave concern about possible Kurdish annexation of their villages.

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