Shengal Resistance Units (YBŞ) repelled an Islamic State attack on two Yazidi villages on the southwest slopes of Mount Sinjar on March 21, and used the opportunity to counter-attack into IS-held territory, according to reports.
— Matthew Barber (@Matthew__Barber) March 21, 2017
YBŞ commander Sharvan Kawa told NRT news that several IS members were killed in the fighting. Barber said that YBŞ had not recovered bodies of IS militants killed.
There are no reports of YBŞ fighters being killed.
UPDATE March 22 The YBŞ has issued a statement about the attacks. It says the attack was launched around midnight on March 21 YBŞ on Skiniye and Hayale, and clashes continued until the afternoon near al-Thawra. Eleven IS militants were confirmed killed. A group of HPG guerillas assisted. One YBŞ member, Rüstem Cudi, was killed.
— le_carabinier (@LCarabinier) March 21, 2017
The ANF news agency published a YouTube video that it said showed YBŞ fighting against IS on March 21.
IS may have specifically chosen to attack on Newroz, which marks the New Year for Kurds and other ethnicities in the region.
— Firat News Agency (@anfenglish) March 21, 2017
The Islamic State attack came amid heightened tensions between the KDP-controlled Rojava Peshmerga and the YBŞ and PKK on the northern side of Mount Sinjar, after the Peshmerga moved into the area on March 2. Rojava Peshmerga killed a demonstrator at a YBŞ protest in Khanasor on March 14.
Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on March 16 that Turkey was considering a joint ground operation in Sinjar, Iraq alongside Peshmerga forces controlled by KDP leader Masoud Barzani, President of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, to prevent Kurdish militants from maintaining a foothold in the area.
The KDP-controlled KRG has repeatedly called for the PKK to leave the Sinjar area.
Control of territory to the north of Mount Sinjar has become hotly contested, with KCK-aligned militant groups –Syria’s YPG, the Yazidi YBŞ and the Turkish PKK – claiming that the KDP and Turkey want to take control of the border between Iraq and Syria there.