Sinjar (Shingal)

Yezidi Temple Mount Sinjar

Sinjar (Shingal in Kurdish) is both the name of a town and a district in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is close to Mount Sinjar and near the border of Syrian Kurdistan. Its population in 2013 was estimated at 88,023 and is home to a large population of Yazidis, with Arab and Assyrian minorities.

Sinjar History

Historically, the area has been populated by Yazidis, although this has changed in recent decades. The district was created in 1934 by royal decree. One year later, Kurdish Yazidis revolted against the forced conscription of Yazidi men into the Iraqi army. The revolt was quickly crushed by Iraqi forces, and was subsequently occupied by the Iraqi army.

Shingal Economy

The economy is based on agriculture; wheat, barley figs, and tobacco. There are also oil fields in the district, but have been closed due to war conditions. Mount Sinjar is also known to be a source of natural gas and heavy minerals. The area has always been considered an important crossing point between Syria and Iraq, and has recently been a contested point between Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the self-declared Islamic State forces.

Yazidis on Mount Sinjar

In August 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) attacked the town of Sinjar. The Kurdish Peshmerga was defeated, and a mass exodus occurred, including much of the Yazidi community.  Thousands of Yazidis took refuge on Mount Sinjar, fighting thirst and hunger for months. In December of 2014, the Peshmerga led an offensive against ISIS that ultimately ended the siege of Mount Sinjar, and liberating hundreds of Yazidi from the ISIS threat..

During the siege, ISIS killed countless Yazidi men, and forced many Yazidi women to marry Islamic fighters. Nine Yazidi mass graves have been found, and eight Yazidi shrines have been destroyed.

The Kurdish Peshmerga is still defending Yazidis from the Islamic State in Sinjar. VICE News recently covered the Peshmerga fighters who are still defending the area from the Islamic State. Visit the article above, or watch the video below.

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