Pressure to Expel PMF from Liberated Areas Grows

10/29/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) –  Representatives of the Sunni community living in Salahuddin Province have looked towards the recently announced Sinjar agreement as a potential framework for other communities living in areas liberated from ISIS. They are particularly referencing the part of the framework which stipulates the withdrawal of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an Iranian-backed Shiite militia who helped liberate these areas but have become entrenched there and known for widespread human rights abuses.

This is not the first time that non-Shia residents in liberated areas have asked for the expulsion of the PMF. Both Yazidis and Christians have been outspoken about the challenges that have arisen from the PMF’s presence. However, it is noteworthy that the Sunni community is referencing the Sinjar agreement, which was met with mixed feelings by the Yazidi community.

Everyone agrees that the situation is bad for religious minorities, but the framework to rectify these problems is often controversial. For Christians, they often closely monitor Sunni and Shia sectarian issues because they frequently expand into violence which has disproportionate causalities towards Christians watching on the sidelines. Salahuddin Province is located just south of Nineveh, where most Christians are originally from. There is also the added concern that the presence of ISIS is much stronger in Salahuddin and a bad sectarian incident here could migrate some of those problems north into the Christian areas.

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