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Iraqi officials visit Sinjar, vow to help security, reconstruction

By Khalid al-Taie

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Iraqi police force at Sinjar entrance checkpoint in May. [Photo courtesy of Sinjar Police Directorate]

In light of the challenges many Sinjar residents face, a senior government delegation visited the northern Iraqi city August 26th to evaluate the situation there.

The delegation included a large number of officials and military commanders, including the Joint Operations' Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir al-Shamari, Ninawa Governor Najm al-Jubouri, and West Ninawa Operations Commander Maj. Gen. Jabbar al-Taie.

Representatives from the Prime Minister's office, the Martyrs' Foundation, the Migration and Displacement Ministry and the National Security Service were also present.

The delegation conferred to discuss a set of recommendations to enhance stability in the city, deal with challenges hindering reconstruction efforts and provide basic services to the population.

They decided to form a central ministerial committee vested by the prime minister to reconstruct Sinjar.

Disaster-struck city 5 years after liberation

Though liberated over five years ago, Sinjar is still a disaster-struck city. Under the control of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"(ISIS), 85% of its public services, buildings and houses were destroyed, said Khadida Joki, director of the northern administrative area of Sinjar.

Sinjar has not undergone any major reconstruction efforts, except for some limited rehabilitation work supported by international organisations, he told Diyaruna.

"For instance, the Sinjar Real Estate Department is now operating out of Tal Afar, the Nationality and Personal Status Department is operating out of Tal Keif and the Compensation Department in Shaikhan," he said.

"This is a burden on local families and those who have returned to the city from displacement camps," said Joki.

He said the delegation has decided to dedicate a sufficient budget to meet the reconstruction needs in Sinjar. Officials also called for opening two offices in Sinjar for the Migration and Martyrs' Foundation departments by mid-September.

The visiting delegation agreed upon extending the mission of the international team working on mass graves that hold the remains of ISIS's Yazidi victims for another year, he said.

Meanwhile, a proposal addressing the city's security was previously submitted to the government and re-submitted to the delegation on August 26th.

The proposal suggests forming a unified Yazidi force of Sinjar residents to help the military and police forces with stabilizing and securing the city. This will encourage the displaced population to return to Sinjar and resume their normal life, Joki said.

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