(AINA) -- Since 2020, the establishment of three checkpoints in the Nahla area in north Iraq has significantly disrupted the daily lives of the resident of Nahla, who are all Assyrians. The residents of Nahla frequently need to travel to various locations for essential activities such as transporting groceries or animal feed to support their agricultural endeavors. However, they often encounter unnecessary interrogations and prolonged questioning by individuals who are already acquainted with them. These encounters occur without any reasonable suspicion or apparent justification.
While the stated reason for these checkpoints is security concerns related to the Kurdish terrorist group PKK from Turkey, it appears that officials are aware of the PKK's presence and other parties that deal with the organization, but choose to penalize the Assyrians of Nahla, potentially associating them with the PKK, having no reasonable evidence for such association.
A recent episode has caused tensions to flare again in the area after an ill elderly woman was made to wait an inordinate amount of time by security personnel working for the KRG. This action has outraged the residents of Nala, who feel that the removal of the checkpoints is now necessary for the safety and welfare of all parties.
Nahla has been repeatedly subjected to blockades and land expropriation because of its mountainous terrain, rich agriculture and prized location. Kurdish officials and individuals want to take the land from Assyrians.
The Chaldean Community Foundation has issued a statement calling for the removal of the checkpoints.
Land Dispute Issues
In the 1970s, due to the ongoing war, the people of Nahla generously allowed members of the Zibari tribe of Kurds to reside in their villages. While the Zibari Kurds expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the people of Nahla, their extended presence has become an issue over the decades.
In the village of Kashkawa, attempts were made to resolve the matter through traditional and tribal discussions, but when these failed, a complaint was filed with the authorities. Subsequently, in 2017, a court order was issued in favor of the people of Nahla, demanding the occupants to vacate the disputed lands. Unfortunately, compliance with the court order has not been observed, leading many in the area to complain of the effectiveness of law enforcement that is just and equally applied.
Currently, there are 67 problematic land dispute cases, some of which have received court relief but are still without proper enforcement. It is a matter of concern that while the courts may grant relief to the people of Nahla, the actual enforcement of these orders is lacking. This discrepancy between court-ordered relief and its implementation disproportionately affects the native Christian communities, who have suffered from discriminatory application of laws for decades.
The Chaldean Community Foundation has called for the immediate enforcement of court orders issued by the relevant authorities.