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Qasim Shifan • قاسم شفان

Qasim Shifan emerged as a leader of Ezidi fighters in 2014. He was protecting around Qandil era to prevent the Islamic State from advancing to the mountain. He did not receive a salary for this. IIt was all by his and his fighters' own efforts.

One night he was shooting from the mountain toward an Islamic State battalion in a cafeteria in Qandil, and sent thirteen BRG7 bombs toward the cafeteria.

When the Islamic State attacked Shingal, the Ezidis left to the mountain. "I refused to flee, I refused to give up my land, because this is my honor," he saiid. He refused to lose Shingal because it was his honor which would be lost if he gave up the land. They had several base around the Shingal region. Their main base was the police station along the road, but for fighters coming from the south they had a second 'main base' at Chil Mera as well. From these two main bases, they could send reinforcements to their satellite bases below,

  • Qizilkand

  • Lofa

  • Der As

  • Qchrax

  • Gali Haji

  • Xraba Tira

They started fighting August 3rd and destroyed an ISIS truck at the lofa, and the three ISIS fighters inside were killed. In response, the Islamic State sent another truck which he destroyed also. also destroyed another ISIS truck that had heavy weaponry, and one ISIS fighter inside was killed. This took place on the lofa, at the very beginning of where the switchback begin.

In the night of September 12th 2014, he and some fighters came to the Wardia road connecting Shingal and Syria. They went there to cut the road and attack the Islamic State and seize weapons. They managed to kill Abu Anas Baghdadi, a major Islamic State leader, and eighteen Islamic State fighters, destroy four Islamic State vehicles, and seize BKC weapons and Kalashnikovs.

In October 2014, they were just 12 people fighting against ISIS. They were at Gali Haji and Xraba Tira. There were approximately 400 ISIS fighters attacking them. However, because Qasim had the advantage of altitude ("one person could kill ten at a time") they were able to kill 280 Islamic State fighters and were able to seize good weapons. The PKK gave one martyr and ran away. it was just these 12 Ezidi fighters.

Qasim's forces eventually totaled approximately 180 fighters. They gave 2 martyrs and 11 injured. He himself was also injured. "No Peshmerga helped me, no government helped me."

"When we were fighting, we did not even have enough food. When we sent groups around Shingal to check on homes, and they would give us food from their households. Sometimes we just ate boiled barley or what. We did not even have clothes. We sometimes at only once every two days."

In August 7th, he was injured. He helped one old woman and was carrying her on his back and a dushka (an Islamic State fighter with a dushka) blew up and sent shrapnel into his right leg. There was no medical support and he treated himself by putting salt over the wound.

He did not stop fighting, but he did not have support and donations. When Shingal was liberated, they were among the first to enter. However, without funds to give salaries he found that it was untenable to continue after that. "Until this time, our group remains ready to defend Ezidis because we will never trust Kurdistan and Iraqi governments after seeing how they abandoned us. We remain ready to defend Ezidis everywhere. We are home now, but when Ezidi people need us wee are ready."


Interview on July 5th, 2019 at a home in Qandil.