SINJAR, Iraq (Reuters) – It’s dawn in Sinjar and the only sounds are the footsteps of guards patrolling a golden-domed shrine on a hill overlooking a vista of collapsed rooftops.
More than three years after Islamic State was driven out of this city in northern Iraq, all that remains in the once bustling market are the bomb-scarred facades of shops. Dozens of streets are blocked by metal barrels – a sign of unexploded ordnance that has yet to be cleared.
City - Occupiers - Thousands - Minority - Yazidis
In a city whose former occupiers slaughtered thousands of minority Yazidis, water is scarce and power intermittent. The closest hospital to reopen is a 45-minute drive away. There are only two schools.
The physical devastation is extreme, but it is not the city’s only challenge. Caught in a power tussle between Iraq’s central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, the city also struggles with a political impasse.
Ruins - Progress - Ibrahim - Mahmoud - Ezzo
“It is in ruins. There has been no progress at all,” said Ibrahim Mahmoud Ezzo, 55, the Yazidi owner of about a dozen shops, all of which are damaged.
“There is no mayor and no local council. People are losing billions of dinars in lost business and property every year, they don’t know who to turn to,” he said.
“How long are we supposed to wait?”
Overrun by Islamic State in 2014 and liberated by an array of forces the following year, little has been rebuilt and only a fraction of the population has returned. Residents say both the KRG regional government and the central government have made no effort at construction.
August - Jihadists - Sinjar - Population - Yazidis
Before August 2014 when the jihadists overran it, Sinjar had a population of about 100,000. They included Yazidis, a religious minority whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions and who considered the city the capital of their heartland, as well as Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims,...
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