Sinjar Resistance Units

The Sinjar Resistance Units (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Berxwedana Şengalê; YBŞ) is a Yazidi militia formed in Iraq in 2007 to protect Yazidis in Iraq in the wake of attacks by Sunni Islamist insurgents.[10] It is the second largest Yazidi militia, after the Êzîdxan Protection Force (HPÊ).[11] However, it is much more active than the HPÊ in fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[11]

Sinjar Resistance Units
Yekîneyên Berxwedana Şengalê (YBŞ)
LeadersSheikh Khairy Khedr 
Zeki Shingali [1]
Dates of operation2007–present[2]
Allegiance Ezidi Freedom and Democracy Party (PADE)[3][4][5]
HeadquartersSinjar, Nineveh Governorate, Iraq
IdeologyYazidi regionalism
Democratic confederalism
Political positionLeft-wing
Part ofSinjar Alliance
Popular Mobilization Forces[7]
Allies Kurdistan Workers' Party
Sinjar Women's Units
Êzîdxan Protection Force (Until March 2017)
People's Protection Units
Women's Protection Units
 Iraq (sometimes)
Opponents Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
 Iraq (sometimes)
Battles and warsIraqi Civil War (2014–2017)

Syrian Civil War

Sinjar clashes (2019)

Sinjar clashes (2022)
WebsiteOfficial website

Together with its newly founded all-women offshoot, the Êzîdxan Women's Units (YJÊ), and the formerly Peshmerga-aligned HPŞ, in October 2015 it founded the all-Yazidi joint command umbrella structure Sinjar Alliance. YBŞ and YJÊ are part of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) and work with the People's Defence Forces (HPG) of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).[12][11] Parts of the YBŞ eventually joined the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) as part of an initiative to integrate into the regular Iraqi Armed Forces; these elements are officially known as the 80th Regiment.[7]


A Sinjar Resistance Units fighter carries the militia's flag

The Sinjar Resistance Units took part in the August 2014 Northern Iraq offensive, killing at least 22 fighters of the Islamic State and destroying five armored vehicles in the vicinity of the Sinjar Mountains.[2]

Hundreds of Yazidis received training from People's Protection Units (YPG) instructors at the Serimli military base in Qamishli, Syria, before being sent back to the Mount Sinjar frontlines.[13] These forces were re-branded as the "Sinjar Resistance Units".[14][15]

Its commander Sheikh Khairy Khedr was killed in action during the October 2014 clashes in Sinjar.[16][17]

There have been increased tensions between the YBŞ and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). KRG Peshmerga forces fled Mount Sinjar when the Islamic State first attacked, leaving many Yazidis resentful and distrustful.[18]

In October 2015, the YBŞ participated in the foundation of the Sinjar Alliance as an all-Yazidi joint commando umbrella structure. Besides their all-women offshoot, the Êzîdxan Women's Units (YJÊ), the formerly Peshmerga-aligned Protection Force of Sinjar (HPŞ)[1] and other independent Yazidi units committed to the united Yazidi front.[19]

Under the joint command of the Sinjar Alliance, the Sinjar Resistance Units took part in the November 2015 Sinjar offensive.[20] In 2017, KRG-aligned media outlets claimed that around 800 members had left the YBŞ, and that 400 of them had joined the Peshmerga.[21][22]

In accordance with an agreement of the Iraqi government, parts of the YBŞ joined the Popular Mobilization Forces as the "80th Regiment", while transferring several positions in the Sinjar Mountains to the Iraqi Army. However, the Iraqi military demanded that the YBŞ and other local militias withdrew from further posts as of early 2021; these demands were fuelled by the Iraqi government's desire to remove the PKK's presence from the Sinjar area. The YBŞ and other groups initially refused to follow these orders, arguing that they were not affiliated with the PKK.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Yezidi forces form alliance against IS". Êzîdî Press. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Yazidi militia claims to have killed at least 22 Islamic State militants". Haaretz. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014. Malik al-Tawus is a self-defense group, believed to have been set up in 2007 to protect the Yazidi community in Iraq against attacks by radical Islamists.
  3. ^ "PADÊ salvegera rizgarkirina Şengalê pîroz kir".
  4. ^ "PADÊ bi fermî ji aliyê Bexda ve hate qebûlkirin".
  5. ^ Goran, Baxtiyar (6 May 2017). "PKK-affiliated political party formed in Shingal". Kurdistan24. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Yazidis Form Militia To Protect Sinjar Mountain". Aina. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (6 April 2021). "The Asayish Izidkhan: Interview". Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  8. ^ ""Manbij operation will continue until ISIS is completely expelled"". ANF News. 15 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  9. ^ "Şengal's YJŞ: heading for al-Raqqa to liberate Yazidi women". Hawar News Agency. 3 July 2017. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  10. ^ Ridolfo, Kathleen (31 May 2007). "Christian population dwindling due to threats, attacks". Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 'We have formed a troop of the brave and faithful from the Yazidi clan called the Malik Al-Tawus [King Peacock] troop'
  11. ^ a b c Paraszczuk, Joanna (11 June 2015). "Yazidi militias fight IS in Iraq, amid Kurdish rivalries". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  12. ^ "On patrol with the Sinjar Resistance Units". Reuters. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Kurdish militants train hundreds of Yazidis to fight Islamic State". Aina. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  14. ^ Khalel, Sheren; Vickery, Matthew (23 February 2015). "Yazidis battle ISIL: Disaster 'made us stronger'". Al Jazeera English.
  15. ^ "IS-Terror in Shingal: Wer kämpft gegen wen? Ein Überblick". Êzidî Press. 12 October 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  16. ^ Su, Alice (4 November 2014). "No Escape From Sinjar Mountain". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Iraqi journalists flee as ISIS closes in". The News Minute. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  18. ^ Krohn, Jonathan; Spencer, Richard. "Yazidi leader 'arrested by Kurdish authorities'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Independent Yezidi units join Shingal alliance". Êzîdî Press. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  20. ^ "Shingal: KurdInnen starten mit vereinten Kräften Großoffensive gegen IS". Kurdische Nachrichten (in German). 12 November 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
  21. ^ "400 Ezidis finish 3-month Peshmerga military training". Kurdistan24. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  22. ^ "800 fighters left PKK in Shingal, joined Peshmerga: Ezidi Commander". 30 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.

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