By Ibrahim Salih
Baghdad (AA) - Three out of four displaced Iraqi Ezidis are unable to return to their homes in Sinjar due to the presence of the PKK terrorist group in the area, the district's local council said Tuesday.
Those who were displaced still reside in camps around Dohuk, said Wais Nawaf, the head of the Sinjar Mayoral Council.
Some Ezidi families returned to Sinjar last year, however, they could not endure the PKK’s extortion and forced recruitment of young people, said Nawaf, accusing the PKK of "creating cause and unrest" in Sinjar.
In mid-2014, the PKK sent fighters to Sinjar from Syria and Iraq’s northeastern Qandil region on the pretext of protecting Ezidis from the Daesh terrorist group.
About 550,000 Ezidis currently reside in Iraq. Of these, roughly 336,000 fled to Sinjar during an invasion by Daesh, with some returning to their homes and others living in camps in Dohuk.
In October 2017, the Iraqi government sent federal troops into "disputed" regions between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government -- including Sinjar.
After federal forces moved into Sinjar, the PKK falsely claimed to have withdrawn from the region.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.