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Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:50 am

Shingal strike was unilateral Turkish decision
By Wladimir van Wilgenburg

A spokesperson for the US-led Coalition says it was not involved in the Turkish decision to send jets over the Iraqi border to carry out a military operation in Sinjar (Shingal) on Wednesday.

“We are aware that Turkish aircraft carried out strikes in the Sinjar area which was a unilateral Turkish decision,” the Coalition spokesperson told Kurdistan 24 on Thursday.

According to the official, Turkey had “alerted the Coalition of its intention to strike in the Sinjar area, but did not give specific targeting information.”

“Queries pertaining to Turkish targeting and strike operations should be directed to Turkish officials,” he added.

“All Coalition nations are concerned about [the Islamic State’s] attempts to re-establish a presence anywhere, and we will continue to work by, with, and through our partners to achieve a lasting defeat of the terrorist organization.”

On Wednesday, sources told Kurdistan 24 that Turkish warplanes were bombarding west of Baraa village located near the Syrian border in the Yezidi (Ezidi)-populated Shingal District.

Shortly after, Turkish media outlets claimed a commander by the name of Ismail Ozden, also known as Mam Zeki Shingali, had been killed in the airstrikes.

The Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), an umbrella political group for several parties close to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), confirmed the death of Shingali, who was a member of the Shengal Yazidi Coordination and an Executive Council member of the KCK.

In the statement, the KCK blamed Iraq, the US, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) “for the violation of Shingali airspace.”

“They have been allowing the Turkish state aircrafts to attack Shingal [sic],” the KCK said.

The KDP does not control any airspace in Iraq.

In April 2017, Turkish airstrikes supposedly targeting the PKK-affiliated YBS killed five Peshmerga soldiers and wounded nine others, as well as causing extensive damage to the area, resulting in condemnation from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

In March 2018, the PKK said it withdrew its forces from Shingal, handing over positions to the Iraqi army.

The PKK found a foothold there after coming down from its mountain bases on the Iraq-Iran border to back the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to open a safety corridor for the Ezidis.

http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/f43b ... e087a8dc2a
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:58 pm

Murder of Mam Zeki

The Mesopotamian Faiths Platform described the murder of Mam Zeki Şengali as the continuation of the genocide of the Yazidi people.

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980
Mam Zeki Şengali on right

The Mesopotamian Beliefs Platform made up of NAV-YEK, FEDA, CIK, Mesopotamian Peoples' Congress-Assyrians / Syriacs, has released a written statement on the murder of Mam Zeki Şengali.

Şengali, member of the Yazidi Society Coordination and the KCK Executive council, was martyred as a result of Turkish army airstrikes on 15 August after a commemoration for the anniversary of the 3 August 2014 massacre carried out by the Islamic State against the Yazidi people in Kocho village of Shengal.

The statement said that the Turkish state attacked Shengal in cooperation with Baghdad and South Kurdistan government. It was emphasized that the massacre of Şengali was the continuation of the genocide and imperialist polices against the Yazidi people.
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:09 pm

U.N. is collecting evidences of DAESH genocide against Yazidis

A U.N. investigative team started work this week
nearly a year after the Security Council created it


The team will collect and preserve evidence of acts by Islamic State in Iraq that may be war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres notified the 15-member Security Council in a letter that the U.N. team, led by British lawyer Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, started work on Aug. 20.

At last September's annual U.N. gathering of world leaders, the council unanimously adopted a British-drafted resolution - after a year of talks with Iraq - asking U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to create the team "to support domestic efforts" to hold the militants accountable.

U.N. experts had warned in June 2016 that Islamic State was committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the minority religious community through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.

Guterres announced in May that he had appointed Khan after the Security Council approved the scope and limitations for the team in February. He said in the letter, released on Thursday, that Khan visited Iraq earlier this month.

Use of evidence collected by the team in other venues, such as international courts, would "be determined in agreement with the Government of Iraq on a case-by-case basis." Evidence is for primary use by Iraqi authorities, followed by "competent national-level courts," according to the 2017 U.N. resolution.

On 3 August the Islamic State carried out the genocide against the Yazidi people who could only be saved by the prompt intervention of the Kurds YPG forces, as KDP peshmergas had left Shengal.
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:46 am

Yazidi husband on how he rescued wife from life as ISIS sex slave

Yazidi husband reveals how he rescued his wife from life as an ISIS sex slave by hiring a hitman to kill her captor – after his sister was also taken but bravely escaped after three months

    Huzni Murad's wife Jilian was taken alongside his sister Nadia, as ISIS sex slaves

    Jilian, 26, was able to steal a phone and contacted Huzni, 37, who hired assassin

    The hitman killed Jilian's ISIS captor and husband and wife could be reunited

    Nadia Murad was kidnapped from Iraqi village at 21 and made an ISIS sex slave

    She escaped by jumping over the garden wall of her captor's home in Mosul

    Murad lives in Germany and is a campaigner on behalf of the Yazidi community

    The Yazidi is set to marry Abid Shamdeen, a former interpreter for the US army
A Yazidi man whose wife was kidnapped and tortured as an ISIS sex slave has spoken of how he managed to free her by hiring an assassin to kill her captor.

Huzni Murad's wife Jilian was taken alongside his sister Nadia, who also escaped and is now fighting for justice alongside Amal Clooney, in 2014 as ISIS attacked their villages in Sinjar, Iraqi Kurdistan, and captured 5,000 women.

The 26-year-old was taken to Mosul where she was held captive by an ISIS fighter, beaten and raped, for 30 months until Huzni, 37, was able to rescue her.

The brother of Nadia Murad, pictured with her fiance Abid Shamdeen, was able to hire an assassin to rescue his wife Jilian, who has also been taken as a sex slave by ISIS

Nadia Murad describes her ordeal at the hands of ISIS fighter

After stealing a mobile phone, she was able to contact Huzni. Having feared her husband may have been among the thousands massacred by ISIS, she burst into tears upon hearing his voice.

'We were crying and crying, then laughing, then crying. We never thought we would see each other again,' she told The Mirror.

'I had lost hope, but he told me, 'You will come back, and you will be loved, and I will be here for you'.'

Huzni hired a hitman to target the ISIS fighter holding Jilian hostage, and the assassin killed him by driving into his car.

The hitman and his associates were then able to smuggle Jilian out of Mosul and eventually back to Huzni.

Ms Murad, who runs a group aiming to rebuild the shattered Sinjar region, is to marry Abid Shamdeen, a former interpreter for the US army.

Murad was abducted at age 21 from the village of Kocho near Sinjar, an area that is home to about 400,000 Yazidis, by hard-line Sunni Muslim fighters who view Yazidis as devil worshippers.

'I had lost hope, but he told me, 'You will come back, and you will be loved, and I will be here for you'.'

Mr Murad's sister Nadia has since become public face of their people's suffering, and is now set to marry the man who helped her overcome her ordeal.

Nadia Murad was repeatedly beaten and gang-raped by fanatics after being kidnapped at the age of 21 from her village in northern Iraq in 2014.

But after a daring escape, which saw her leap over the garden wall of her captor's house in Mosul, she was offered asylum in Germany and has spoken to the UN about her horrifying experiences.

It has now emerged that Ms Murad, who runs a group aiming to rebuild the shattered Sinjar region, is to marry Abid Shamdeen, a former interpreter for the US army.

Shamdeen helped her recover and, taking to Twitter, Ms Murad said of her engagement: 'Yesterday was a special day for @AbidShamdeen & I. We are very thankful and humbled for all the wishes & support from our family & friends.

'The struggle of our people brought us together & we will continue this path together. Thank you for your support everyone!'

Shamdeen added: 'We met during very difficult times in both our lives but we managed to find love while fighting a huge fight.'

Murad has been represented by international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and she became a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking in 2017.

Nadia Murad is pictured, May 2016, speaking at the Lower Saxony parliament in Hanover, Germany

Ms Murad, now in her mid 20s, was one of about 7,000 women and girls captured by the hard-line Sunni Muslim fighters who view Yazidis as devil worshippers.

Last year, she shared her harrowing experience of being captured, beaten and sold as a sex slave by ISIS militants in a new book.

In 'The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State', Murad recounted her life in a northern Iraqi village, her brutal captivity, tension-filled escape and feelings of betrayal and abandonment by those who failed to help.

Murad is Yazidi, a religious minority who live in an uneasy existence with their Muslim neighbors.

Yazidi men and older women, including five of her eight brothers and her 61-year-old mother, were killed. The younger women and girls were held in captivity for sex.

'It never gets easier to tell your story. Each time you speak it, you relive it,' Murad wrote in her book.

'[But] my story, told honestly and matter-of-factly, is the best weapon I have against terrorism, and I plan on using it until those terrorists are put on trial.'

United Nations investigators estimate more than 5,000 Yazidis were rounded up and slaughtered in the 2014 attack, and UN experts have said ISIS was committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq.

Murad was registered as a slave and even had a photo ID that would be dispersed among the fighters if she were to run away. Her new owner was a high-ranking ISIS judge named Hajji Salma. Pictured: Murad cries as she visits her village for the first time since being captured

In September 2016, the UN Security Council approved the creation of an investigative team to collect, preserve and store evidence in Iraq of acts by ISIS.

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, wrote the foreword to 'The Last Girl', is campaigning for the Islamist group to be prosecuted through the International Criminal Court.

Murad was abducted at age 21 from the village of Kocho near Sinjar, an area that is home to about 400,000 Yazidis.

'Our Sunni neighbors could have come to us and tried to help,' she writes. 'But they didn't.'

Murad was registered as a slave and even had a photo ID that would be dispersed among the fighters if she were to run away.

Murad's book 'The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State'

Her new owner, a high-ranking ISIS judge named Hajji Salma, told her: 'You're my fourth sabiyya (sex slave). The other three are Muslim now. I did that for them. Yazidis are infidels - that's why we are doing this. It's to help you.'

Recounting the seemingly endless rapes by men who bought and sold her was clearly difficult for Murad.

'At some point, there was rape and nothing else. This becomes your normal day,' she says in the book.

'You don't know who is going to open the door next to attack you, just that it will happen and that tomorrow might be worse.'

Murad detailed how she tried to escape by wearing abaya, the robe-like covering that devout Muslim women wear, and crawling out a window.

She was caught by a guard. Hajji Salman whipped her and let his sentry made up of six men gang-rape her until she was unconscious.

Over the next week, she was passed to six other men who raped and beat her, before being given to one who planned on taking her to Syria.

Murad then saw a fleeting opportunity to jump over the garden wall of her captor's house in Mosul. After wandering the streets cloaked in an abaya, she made a daring decision to knock on the door of a stranger's house and ask for help.

That was a huge risk, and she later learned her niece, also enslaved, had been turned in six times to ISIS by people she had asked for help.

'Families in Iraq and Syria led normal lives while we were tortured and raped. They watched us walk through the streets with our captors,' she writes. 'They let us scream in the slave market and did nothing.'

Murad was lucky that the strangers she found in Mosul helped smuggle her to a refugee camp.

With the publication of her memoir by Tim Duggan Books, Murad said she wanted to see Yazidis in captivity released, the resettlement of survivors, the removal of landmines in the Sinjar region and prosecution of ISIS extremists.

But more than anything else, she said: 'I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine.'

She now lives in Germany and has become a campaigner on behalf of the Yazidi community. In 2017, she became a UN Goodwill

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... itman.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:50 pm

Yazidi say ISIS supporters returning to northern Iraq
Locals say Baghdad is not ensuring the protection of survivors


Yazidi activists accused Baghdad of allowing people who “took part in the 2014 genocide” to return to villages near Sinjar in northern Iraq. On Tuesday, video and photos were posted online showing a long line of trucks and cars waiting near a checkpoint to return to a village east of Sinjar Mountain.

“Yazidis concerned over return of families involved in Islamic State Shingal massacre,” tweeted one activist. “The return of these people will become a threat to the lives of people in Shingal, and bad things may happen which we do not accept.”

In August 2014, Islamic State attacked the area around Sinjar mountain where hundreds of thousands of Yazidis, members of a religious minority, live. ISIS captured more than 10,000 people and systematically separated women and men, murdering the men and selling women and children into slavery. The horrific crime has been called genocide by international organizations. More than 3,000 Yazidi women and children are still missing.

Since Sinjar was liberated in 2015, many Yazidis have not returned due to an unstable security situation and changing control of the area from Kurdish Peshmerga to Iraqi federal forces. However, since Iraq’s federal government and Shi’ite militias took control in October 2017, some Arab families who fled the area have returned. The Shi’ite militias are called Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU).

Local Yazidis accuse some of the local Arab tribes of having supported ISIS and think that the government hasn’t screened the returnees. They are also angry that Yazidis have not been given infrastructure in Sinjar and security, even though these other groups displaced by the fighters are able to return.

The recent statements came after Amy Beam, a human rights advocate for Yazidi survivors of the 2014 genocide, posted a video on Facebook Tuesday showing more than 35 cars and trucks waiting at a checkpoint on a road that leads from Tal Afar to Snune in northern Iraq.

“Video of Sunni Arabs returning August 28 to Gholat village on the east end of Shingal mountain,” she wrote on Facebook. “Residents of Gholat are accused by Ezidi [Yazidi] neighbors of participation with ISIS to attack them August 3, 2014.” She says that she is hoping for “peace and justice” and would try to speak with some of the returnees. “Shia and Sunni Arabs also suffered from Daesh and lost their family members and houses. How will the innocent Arabs be separated from the guilty Daesh,” she wrote.

YAZIDIS EXPRESSED concern when they heard of the return. One man noted in reaction to the video that he had also passed the same convoy of vehicles. “They were waiting for their names to be checked on the security forces’ computer.”

But others wondered why the US and UN were not doing more to revive life in Sinjar. Dawood Saleh, author of a memoir on the genocide called Walking Alone, said that the government was allowing these residents to return to land “taken from Yazidis in the time of Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

Under Saddam, many Yazidis say their villages were forcibly collectivized, Sunni Arab tribes settling from Sinjar to Mosul as a way for Saddam to cement his control of northern Iraq. “For more than 4 years... Yazidis fled their homes to refugee camps and yet no one helps them to clear their homes from bombs or return them back safely,” Saleh wrote.

ISIS destroyed many Yazidi villages in 2014 and laced them with mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during its occupation of the area. This makes it difficult for Yazidis to return, whereas ISIS did not carry out the same systematic destruction of Arab villages.

The concern in Sinjar is that the government is not checking the returnees sufficiently. Nasir Pasha Khalaf, a member of the Yazidi community, says that many Yazidis who live in Sinjar were prevented from carrying weapons for self-defense after the Iraqi government and Shia militias arrived last year. He says that measures like this and the road closure from Sinjar – and Dohuk, where many Yazidi IDPs live – have prevented his own people from returning.

“We ask the United Nations, the US and the Government of Iraq and people of conscience all over the globe to not allow criminals to return to their places of residence while victims are being tortured under the tents of the displacement.”

In the last seven months, the area of Sinjar has been rocked by many controversies. Visitors say that there are more than 30 checkpoints to get from Mosul or Dohuk to Sinjar, which makes it difficult for people to travel. There is also a network of different militias controlling the checkpoints.

In recent weeks the PMU said it wants to reorganized the control of Sinjar into a new command and withdraw some of its forces. However, Iraq still lacks a new government three months after elections and areas around Mosul and Sinjar have become part of political negotiations between the parties that back the PMU, the Prime Minister’s office and the Kurdish parties. The PMU’s allowing of some Sunni Arabs to return may be in the context of getting a coalition agreement with Sunni political parties.

Only three Yazidis – despite numbering around 500,000 in Iraq – were elected to parliament this year, and their concerns are often ignored or subverted to the political whims of the larger parties.

Beam says many Yazidis now feel a lack of hope and express interest in moving abroad. However, a recent report from Germany says that Yazidis who escaped there are being denied asylum and risk being sent back to Iraq where they can’t return to their homes.

https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Yazid ... raq-566096
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:31 am

The 'forgotten' people of an unforgettable story

    In the ancestral land of the Yazidis, a sacred mountain looms large

    A persecuted people has long seen it as their protector
"Sinjar mountain saved me, and many other Yazidis, four years ago," says Hade Shingaly as we sit on thin mattresses covered with bright geometric patterns in his family's elongated tent.

It is perched in a tidy cluster of tarpaulin shacks on a mountain plateau in this remote corner of Iraq.

Through a window of plastic sheeting, we can see Sinjar's rocky brown slopes speckled with scruffy green shrubs.

Four years after the IS invasion,Hade Shingaly, a Yazidi man, his family and many others still live on the slopes of Sinjar mountain

Hade's family fled their village in 2014 to take refuge here, along with tens of thousands of other Yazidis fearing for their lives, when fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) group swept with shocking cruelty across vast stretches of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

Four years on, Hade's family, and many others, still live on these slopes, even though the extremist group no longer controls this area.

    They are terrified ISIS will return

"We don't trust our neighbours," he tells me as we sip traditional cinnamon tea and sample fresh figs. "When ISIS came to our village, they didn't know anything about the Yazidis. Our Muslim neighbours told them 'the Yazidis don't believe in God, that we aren't Muslim'.

"ISIS killed the men, and sold women into slavery in markets in Iraq and Syria," he recalls bitterly.

A rooster's crow pierces the late afternoon quiet, and an old generator to provide electricity clatters into action - a far cry from homes they had proudly built in their village.

In 2014, heart-rending images of Yazidis struggling to survive on this forbidding massif alerted the world to their desperate plight.

It helped push the United States to join the military campaign against ISIS extremist rule. Western helicopters dropped food and water on Sinjar mountain amid alarming reports Yazidis were dying of dehydration and hunger.

Crumpled clothes discarded in panic by people on the run still litter the mountainside - chilling mementos of a painful past.

Now the Yazidis feel they have been abandoned by the world SO TRUE =((

The main town of Sinjar, at the foothills of the mountain, still lies in utter ruin. Bombs and booby traps laid by ISIS are still strewn in the rubble.

One date - 3 August 2014 - is daubed on some walls still standing.

For a people who feel forgotten, it is impossible for them to forget all that has happened to them since ISIS smashed into their lives.

Bahar Dawood, mother of three children, still has flashbacks and sometimes faints 30 times a day

"I still have flashbacks and sometimes faint 30 times a day," explains Bahar Dawood in a quiet monotone voice as her three young children huddle next to her. A short time later, she falls to the ground.

Like nearly 7,000 other Yazidi women, Bahar was enslaved and brutalised by ISIS fighters

    3,000 women and children are still enslaved by ISIS

Her children show the scars of violent beatings inflicted on them.

"This child sometimes cries for two hours asking for her father and brother," she says as her daughter, Ramzya, wraps her small arms around her mother's neck to hold her even closer.

"We haven't heard anything from them in two years."

With no men to provide for them in this traditional society, the 33-year-old mother and her children found refuge in an orphanage set up by a local Yazidi family, with some assistance from a German aid agency.

Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis now live in displacement camps scattered across Iraq's northern Kurdistan region.

Tents and containers sit in long neat lanes, flanked by newly planted trees, and tiny patios - efforts of a proud people to try to ease their hardship.

"Yazidis feel betrayed by their neighbours, forgotten by their government, and the provision of aid is dwindling," says Kris Phelps of the British charity War Child, one of the few international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) still working in Yazidi camps.

"It's really striking to see the surge and ebb in attention the Yazidis have received," Ms Phelps remarks.

Disputes between the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq and the central government in Baghdad have also complicated relief efforts and security arrangements in a region which includes Kurds and Arabs.

"What's your dream?" I ask a Yazidi teacher playing games with children in one of the few spaces to help displace painful memories with positive moments.

"We need more aid agencies to come here and help us, " he replies, without a pause. "If they don't come here, the world needs to help all of us to leave."

    'We harmed nobody'

This ancient sect, one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions, has survived for centuries by living apart in a tight-knit community. There are less than a million Yazidis worldwide, and most are in this Iraqi heartland.

Now they see their fate inextricably linked to the wider world.

Yazidis speak of surviving 74 genocides throughout their tormented history the horrific ISIS campaign to eradicate their faith and culture, recognised by the United Nations as genocide, may have dealt the most brutal blow.

    Yazidi leaders call for international help and protection

At one of the largest Yazidi temples, which escaped the wrath of ISIS, the priest invokes a long list of Western countries by name when he catches sight of a rare group of foreign journalists.

"All humane countries of the world must see our situation," Sheikh Ismael Bahri intones loudly as worshippers encircle a pillar of flickering candles in the temple's inner sanctum.

"We've not harmed anyone. All we want is help and protection."

The Yazidis' plight has moved some countries, including Australia, Canada and Germany, to offer refuge to a limited number of Yazidi victims, with a particular focus on women brutally enslaved by ISIS.

'They just shaved their beards'

A makeshift visa application centre on the top floor of an Iraqi hotel is packed. Some people, including elderly grandparents and toddlers, step nervously into the lift - something they've never used before.

Three, sometimes four, generations sit around tables to document their family's history to consular officials and NGO volunteers tasked with taking all their details.

Every family who makes it to this centre has gone through some preliminary vetting but across the Yazidi heartland, everyone has a story of suffering.

"We feel threatened here, we don't have a future here," insists Tuli Bahri Evo, whose family crossed the border from Syria where the Yazidis' presence is also dwindling.

Alarmed by a potential exodus which could endanger the very survival of this tiny community, Yazidi leaders are begging the world to help them stay here.

"We need our own Yazidi force so we can protect ourselves," the Yazidis' religious leader, Baba Sheikh, tells us in a hushed tone as the white-robed wizened old man receives Yazidi well-wishers at his home. "The world is only talking about Yazidis but doing nothing."

Others call for Western militaries to send forces - an option unlikely to be accepted by the Iraqi authorities, even if it was considered in Western capitals.

Yazidis fear ISIS fighters are still hiding in plain sight and will one day return.

"They've just shaved their beards and changed their clothes," Hade insists as we walk through the settlement on Sinjar mountain where some tents are fashioned from the same tarpaulin dropped by Western helicopters four years ago.

"Nothing has changed. Why doesn't someone do something?" Hade asks, knowing there is no simple or easy answer.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-45406232
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:50 pm

The Beekeeper of Sinjar by Dunya Mikhail — mountain hero

A harrowing and timely account of the rescue of Yazidi women from ISIS terror

Nadia’s nightmare began when she was captured by ISIS militants as she fled her Iraqi village with her husband and three children. She was sold as a sex slave to a Chechen jihadist, who raped the 28-year-old in front of her children. “Sometimes his friends would pass us around for a day or two, like presents being borrowed”. The children were beaten and Nadia’s five-year-old daughter was forced to tie detonator wires for bombs.

After months of torment, the Chechen was sent off to fight. Nadia seized the opportunity to rush to a nearby shop to call her cousin, Abdullah Shrem, who dispatched a driver to smuggle her and her children and another ISIS captive to safety.

Nadia’s enslavement is the opening testimony in Dunya Mikhail’s harrowing account of the horrors inflicted on women captured by Isis. The Beekeeper of Sinjar focuses on the experiences of Yazidi women taken and sold as sex slaves, or “sabaya”, after the jihadi group stormed the Sinjar district in northern Iraq in the summer of 2014. The Yazidis, who follow an ancient monotheistic religion, are branded as infidels by Isis. Thousands were captured and killed, and The Beekeeper of Sinjar is the story of the suffering Yazidi women endured and their immense bravery.

The book’s central character is Abdullah, a heroic figure who used a network of drivers and cigarette smugglers to help women escape. Before Isis’s blitz across Iraq and Syria, he was a beekeeper in the Sinjar mountains who marvelled at the queen bee, which “made me profoundly appreciate all the women in my life”. When the Isis onslaught forced him to flee, he focused on rescuing Yazidi women, working “like in a beehive, with extreme care and well-planned initiatives”.

Abdullah is the conduit through which Mikhail, a US-based Iraqi poet and Arabic lecturer, hears the women’s stories. Many of the testimonies are told in the women’s own words, taking the reader on personal journeys. The accounts make for grim reading.

One example is Badia, who did not wash for a month in an attempt to scare off potential buyers, but was eventually sold to an American jihadist along with nine other women. She was bound by the hands and feet, drugged and repeatedly raped. She tried to run away four times until finally she was able to make the life-saving call that brought one of Abdullah’s drivers to her rescue.

Death and despair are never far away: men lined up and shot in large pits that become mass graves; ISIS fighters brandish the severed hands of a water-tanker driver who smuggled cigarettes to an enslaved woman; loved ones lost.

Yet it is the courage and resilience of the women that shines through. There are also examples of Muslims putting themselves in danger to help Yazidis, including a seamstress who hid a mother and child on the run.

The book serves as a powerful reminder of the brutality of Isis amid concerns there are signs of a resurgence. Local and international coalitions drove Isis from its strongholds and Iraq declared victory over the group in December. But thousands of militants are estimated to still be active, and Isis cells remain a deadly threat.

About 50,000 Yazidis have returned to Sinjar, but an estimated 400,000 have yet to go home. Meanwhile, the nightmares will continue. “You won’t find a single family here who hasn’t had someone disappear,” Abdullah tells Mikhail. “Our mountain has melted from the tears and pleas of the families.”

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:57 pm

Only bones remain: shattered Yazidis fear returning home

A generator sputters into life and men in farmers’ trousers spray water on muddy tractors as the sun slips from a late summer sky. On this most ordinary of village days in a northern corner of Iraq, 20-year-old Bafrin Shivan Amo perches on a metal cot bed to speak of the most hellish of times.

“They raped me every day, twice or more,” she recounts with remarkable composure. “I was just a child,” she says in her soft steady voice. “I can never forget it.”

Bafrin shares her story, as hard as that is, because she wants the world to hear what happened to her and nearly 7,000 other Yazidi women enslaved for years by the fighters of the barbaric Islamic State group. The world, her tiny community believes, has forgotten them.

Four years ago, when Isis fighters swept into the furthest reaches of Iraq, images of desperate people stranded on a mountainside in the Yazidi heartland, dying of dehydration and hunger, sparked alarm and compassion for an ancient culture few had heard of. Helicopters were dispatched to drop food and water on the barren slopes of Mount Sinjar and to pull to safety the small number of people who managed to scramble on board.

Now a stubborn scar stains the cluster of towns and villages in the foothills of the Yazidis’ sacred mountain. Streets lie in ghostly silence, broken hulks of houses are still peppered with the bombs and booby-traps laid by Isis before they were pushed out of this area three years ago by Kurdish forces backed by US-led airstrikes. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis are now scattered in displacement camps across this northern region, unable and unwilling to go home, and uncertain where to turn for help.

Few aid agencies are on the ground here and Yazidis are left in limbo, caught in disputes between the local Kurdish administration and the central government in Baghdad. That affects the delivery of aid as well as security for a population still profoundly fearful that Isis will return.

“I cannot go back to my own village,” Bafrin says as we sit in the farmyard in the baking heat, a dark blue scarf with a sparkling trim framing her broad face. She chooses not to hide her face, or her name, as she tells a story which, like the accounts of many Yazidi women, is beyond anyone’s imagination. “There is no hope there will ever be life in my village. There are only bones of the dead.”

Her village is Kocho, only a short drive away. In the vast catalogue of Isis’s war crimes, Kocho set a new bar for brutality. About 400 men, the entire male population, were rounded up, shot or beheaded. Old women were killed and dumped in mass graves, younger ones sold in markets as sex slaves, boys turned into child soldiers.

In that fateful summer of 2014, Bafrin was outside Kocho and tried to make her way to Mount Sinjar, along with the tens of thousands of others who fled there in a blind panic to escape Isis’s assault on a people it scorned as “devil worshippers”.

Yazidis believe Mount Sinjar, a massif spanning the border area between Iraq and Syria, has always been their only protector. They see it as the guardian of their long-persecuted faith, a monotheistic religion with Zoroastrian roots, which also draws on Christianity and Islam.

Isis fighters captured Bafrin and her three brothers on the road, just south of Mount Sinjar, and locked her away, initially with several of her young female friends from Kocho.

In her pain, there was also strength and a sense of purpose. “Every day I was held captive, I grew stronger,” she says. “I took every chance I could to try to escape and promised myself that I would never give up, because, in the end, either I would be killed by my captors or be free.”

When the second fighter who enslaved her was killed in a suicide bombing, she wrapped herself in black clothing, scrambled over a wall, and found her way to a house in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was also then in Isis’s choking grip. Strangers opened the door to a frightened woman on the run, kept her for days, then sold her back to her family.

Thirty-five members of her extended family are still missing. “My brothers are probably dead,” she admits reluctantly. “But we still live in hope.

“Once I was free, I felt reborn. But I can’t feel free while 3,000 Yazidi women and children are still in captivity, in a situation far worse than mine.”

While Isis fighters have been pushed from the cities that once formed their vaunted caliphate, some are still at large, on the edges of villages and in the desert expanses.

One by one, after years of torment, some Yazidi women are coming home as Isis discards some of its slaves – usually for the payment of large sums of money arranged through smugglers.

“I didn’t believe it would ever happen,” a visibly exhausted Gazal says, on her first day at home after her family raised tens of thousands of dollars from relatives and neighbours to free her from captors who had sequestered her in Syria.

Her fetching nine-year-old daughter Dalia shadows her in silence; a bewildered little girl’s staring eyes tell of her horror. “They beat me around the face, and they beat my little girl. They beat all my four children. I was so scared for them,” Gazal says.

The beatings have frozen one side of her face, a paralysis which extends down her arm. But even with tired eyes drained of any sparkle, her relief is palpable. She had thought her ordeal would never end.

“Isis lied to me,” she recalls, her voice more trenchant. “They said our families would kill us if we tried to come home so I was scared to come back. But I was so surprised at the welcome I got.”

In a mobile phone video of their first moments together, a sobbing Gazal is enveloped in the tight embrace of her mother and sisters. Her knees give way and she drops to the floor, overwhelmed by the emotion of reunion and relief.

She had waited for what must have seemed an eternity before trying to reach her relatives: another Yazidi girl had secretly kept a phone, and Gazal finally summoned the courage to send voice messages to her family, who then contacted smugglers.

Within days of coming home, Gazal travels to the holiest Yazidi temple in Lalish, a cluster of shrines with distinctive conical roofs, nestled in a mountain valley. Like all women enslaved by Islamic State fighters, she is showered with water in a ritual seen as washing her clean of her past in the eyes of her community. Without this, she would not have been accepted back.

Concern for the plight of Yazidi women, and the need for expert counselling, led some countries, including Australia, Germany and Canada, to offer refuge to a limited number of women, as well as family members.

Every Yazidi family speaks of wanting to leave, and everyone is looking for loved ones. At the small Office of the Kidnapped, set up by the community in the nearby Iraqi town of Duhok, the director, Hussein al-Qaidi, speaks in a voice that booms loudly like a megaphone, as if to broadcast to anyone who will listen.

“No one is helping us,” he says. “If this was happening somewhere else, all the world would be helping. Aren’t we human too, don’t we deserve better than this?”

Aid came at first from the Kurdish prime minister’s office to help pay the hefty ransoms that are often demanded, but those funds are drying up. Bigger agencies, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations, are making some effort to help trace people, particularly children, who have been lost in camps or orphanages, or sold to families, but it is a sensitive and complex business.

“It’s been four years and we haven’t seen our parents,” say Adiba and Asia, two women in their 20s who escaped captivity. They have lost eight family members in all – parents, grandparents, two aunts, two brothers. We meet in a tidy lane in a Yazidi displacement camp – a well-tended warren that the families have tried to make their own by planting trees, lush green gardens of mint and other herbs, even striking yellow sunflowers.

This family came to the attention of Sally Becker, the British charity worker who made a name for herself in the 1980s during the Bosnian conflict by crossing front lines and circumventing bureaucracies to rescue injured children.

Using her contacts in the Yazidi community, she is now on a mission with her small charity, Road to Peace, to make the search for Yazidi children a greater priority.

“This is my first lead out of about 1,700 children still missing,” she says, sharing a photograph of four-year-old Sabir, the two young women’s nephew, who was taken from his mother into Isis captivity when he was only nine months old.

Adiba and Asia’s six-year-old sister Sylvana sits with them. She narrowly escaped the clutches of organ traffickers who smuggled her to neighbouring Turkey. “They tried to take my kidney but a doctor stole me from the hospital,” she whispers, in a child’s hesitant account of a journey that finally took her back to Iraq, where her sisters managed to find her.

Becker warns: “If more isn’t done more quickly to locate missing children in camps and orphanages, more children could end up being trafficked like Sylvana.”

There is a sense of urgency and impatience. Yazidi families know that some of the answers they need lie buried in the shallow mass graves that litter these blighted lands.

In Kocho, only a few soldiers, and flimsy strands of mesh fencing, stand guard over the killing fields there. The silence is broken only by the whistle of the winds, which have already exposed some bones and bits of tattered clothing. A year ago, the UN security council unanimously passed a resolution, spearheaded by Britain, authorising a team to gather evidence of Isis crimes, including the exhumation of mass graves.

“People are losing hope,” says Farhan Dakheel of Yazda, a global organisation that has been helping to document what the UN is calling a genocide. “So many Yazidis tell me that if nothing happens this year, they will dig for the bodies themselves.”

Last week, the first UN team was on site with an Iraqi medical unit, taking blood samples from survivors of another village close to Mount Sinjar.

“It’s just the beginning,” Farhan says cautiously, in a tone that underlines the Yazidis’ fear that they will never be anyone’s priority.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... rning-home
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:03 pm

The Plight Of The Yazidi Community

Earlier this month, BBC journalist Lyse Doucet covered the plight of the Yazidi community, who are finally returning to their homes in Iraq following the defeat of the terrorist group Islamic State.

The Yazidis are a religious minority predominantly made up of Kurdish speakers, who once inhabited large areas in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Today, their population is concentrated in Northern Iraq, primarily Sheikhan, northeast of Mosul, and also Sinjar, in north-western Iraq.

Estimating the size of the Yazidi population is made difficult by the fact that the areas they have inhabited frequently experienced conflict. Current estimates indicate that there are approximately 700,000 Yazidis around the world. However, this number varies according to the source, as 85% of the Yazidi population has been displaced.

While many other ethnoreligious groups in Iraq have been subject to violence from Islamic State, the treatment of the Yazidis in particular is one of the most pertinent examples of sexual violence and human trafficking as a tactic of terrorism.

Yazidis belong to a religion that originates from Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic religion preceding Christianity. Their ancient gnostic faith has made them a target of terrorist organisations. Beginning with the attack by Islamic State in Mount Sinjar in August 2014, authorities and human rights organisations estimate that between 2,000 to 5,500 Yazidi people have been killed, and over 7,000 Yazidi people kidnapped. In reality, it is likely that these numbers are much higher, given the uncertainty in estimating casualties in areas previously occupied by Islamic State. Most of the victims are children.

Propaganda plays a key role in disseminating and buttressing the ideology the connects the crimes of human trafficking, sexual violence, and terrorism. I wrote about how this works in practice last year. Islamic State has two departments dedicated to ‘war spoils’: one for the sale and movement of slaves, and the other to issue religious edicts. In 2014, Diwan al-Iftaa wa al-Buhuth (the Research and Fatwa Department of Islamic State) published a pamphlet providing ideological justifications for human trafficking including: freeing enslaved women from ‘shirk’ (disbelief) and bolstering conversions to Islam, punishment of ‘kuffar’ (disbelievers), illustrating the supremacy of Islamic State captors, increasing the offspring of the ‘mujahideen’ (fighters), and as a reward for the 'mujahideen'.

Issue 4 of Dabiq, Islamic State’s propaganda magazine, provided more justifications for sexually abusing captured Yazidi women, declaring that enslaving the women of the ‘kuffar’ and taking the women as concubines is part of Sharia, an act that cannot be criticized as to do so would imply criticizing the Quran and the Prophet, and thus apostatizing from Islam. Notably, this issue of Dabiq also details the enslavement of abducted Christian women by Boko Haram and the mujahideen in Nigeria, presumably to draw parallels in the apparent righteousness of the propagated action.

Yazidi women taken as sex slaves by Islamic State have suffered both mental and physical harm. Studies by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations Human Rights Council show a higher frequency of suicide attempts, as well as actual suicides, committed by Yazidi women in captivity as well those who managed to escape. The same study by Human Rights Watch notes how those held captive have displayed evidence of “acute emotional distress”. The Yazidi culture does not typically accept intermarriage and sexual relations with people from faiths outside the Yazidi one. The consequences of such practices have, in the past, resulted in honour based violence.

In November last year I met Farida Khalaf, who at 18 years old was forced to leave her village of Kocho, in Iraq, when Islamic State invaded it. Single women and girls, including Farida, were forced onto a bus at gunpoint and brought to Raqqa in Syria, where they were sold into sexual slavery. She was once beaten so badly by her captors that she lost sight in one eye, and could not walk for two months. Although she was later reunited with surviving family members, members of her community thought that she had dishonoured her family when she was captured and raped.

New efforts have been put in place by leaders of the Yazidi community to reintegrate Yazidi women who escape Islamic State and return home, however. Baba Sheik, the spiritual leader of the Yazidi community has expressed sympathy towards victimized Yazidi women, and has urged the community to embrace them. New community rituals to reduce stigma, such as being ‘re-baptized’ into the faith are, and will be, essential in reducing post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as narrative exposure therapy, a combination of ritual and storytelling, to aid healing and reintegration.

As more Yazidis return home, focus must remain on the redevelopment of these areas, healing within the community itself, and continued international advocacy to ensure that human trafficking and sexual violence can never be used as a tactic of terrorism again.

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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:09 pm

Yazidi woman sold as slave by ISIS tried to protect her children

In a town in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan here, there lies an open field crowded with makeshift homes made of concrete blocks and plastic sheets, the area littered with garbage

"There is no future for us living here," said 31-year-old Laila Twalo Khidher, a member of the Kurdish Yazidi religious minority who gave the Mainichi Shimbun permission to use her real name in this article. Like others belonging to the group, she ended up in the town after being driven from her home by the so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group. She lives with her son Salar, 6, and her daughter Sara, 5.

Laila is from Sinjar, an area home to a large Yazidi community close to the Syrian border. On Aug. 3, 2014, IS fighters launched a series of surprise attacks on the local villages, and Laila tried to escape by car with her children. However, they were stopped by bearded men with guns and taken prisoner.

For the next nine months or so, the family was moved from one school or prison in IS-held territory to another. Laila had been separated from her husband Marwan, then 30, but was allowed to see him again after agreeing to convert to Islam. Then one day, all the Yazidi men were rounded up and taken away -- Marwan included.

Laila and her children were then taken to the IS "capital" of Raqqa, Syria, where she was put on sale at a slave market. She says that virgins fetched especially high prices. She made sure not to wash and smeared mud on her children, hoping to make all of them unappealing.

"I tried to make it look like we were a smelly, dirty family, and pretended to be a sick woman," she tells the Mainichi Shimbun. She was determined not to be separated from her children.

In the end, she and her son and daughter were all bought almost right away by an Iraqi man. Over the next three days, he beat her repeatedly and then gave her to another man. She was passed on again after that, to a plastic surgeon calling himself Abdullah. He was terribly cruel. In the roughly eight months Laila lived with Abdullah, he separated her from her children and whipped them whenever he was displeased.

"My children were always frightened of him. I decided I had to use my own body to protect them," Laila recalled. She added that she did every debasing act he demanded of her, thereby keeping her children out of his sight. But this was not the end of her struggles. She was bought again by IS fighters from Lebanon and other countries, eventually becoming the "property" of a total of seven men. She also became pregnant by Abdullah and another man, and was forced to have abortions.

In April 2017, Laila made contact with a human smuggler, and after her relatives paid some 30,000 dollars to her seventh "owner" and the smuggler, she was finally free.

While Laila was enslaved, her son Salar had been attending an IS school. Even after the family was freed, he recited passages from the Quran and would blurt out, "Yazidis are heretics so they should be killed!" Laila said that Salar is still restless and cannot control his anger. Her daughter Sara's hair has grown down to her waist, but she says she will not cut it "until father comes home."

Laila, however, does not plan to stay for very much longer in Duhok, where she has no income. She hopes to travel with her children to Australia, claim refugee status and begin a new life.

"I will tell my story so that my children will never have to endure such sufferings again," Laila said. She had faced the interviewer all throughout telling her story, but now her gaze faltered and she looked away.

"I want news of my husband," she said,
"Only my body is still alive. My heart is already dead."


https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20 ... na/003000c
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:18 pm

Yazidis in Turkey are still awaiting their fate

“We are awaiting for our fate,” a Yazidi woman told me in a refugee camp in Silopi in southeast Turkey four years ago. After Islamic State (ISIS) attacked Yazidi towns and villages in northern Iraq in August 2014, massacring male inhabitants and forcing women and girls to become sex slaves, thousands of Yazidis fled to Turkey. Later, some sought asylum in Europe and thousands returned to camps in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq and Syria. Some 30,000 of them were hosted in Turkey, not by the Turkish state, but by Kurdish municipalities in southeast Turkey.

In those years, I was working as a volunteer in Yazidi camps, looking for aid, heating, food and clothing for those living there. The Yazidis who crossed over the mountains into Turkey, were first hosted by the people of Roboski, close to the border, and were later dispersed to different Kurdish cities. In September 2014, there were 2,500 Yazidis in Silopi, 7,100 in Şırnak, 2,250 in Roboski, 3,500 in Batman, 5,055 in Diyarbakır, 6,245 in Mardin, 2,730 in Viranşehir, 1,500 in Cizre and 500 in İdil, and those numbers were increasing.

These small and poor Kurdish municipalities did their best to establish camps for the Yazidi people. Due to overcrowding in the camps, some Yazidis were hosted in villages around Roboski, Midyat and Batman. Some Yazidis were hosted in homes in Şırnak. Some of the cafés and parks served as home for the Yazidis. For those hosted in villages and in homes, the municipalities distributed vouchers to buy food from local markets.

Food, clothing, and health services were needed, but the most important issues were to provide temporary winter housing and healthcare. Most of the municipalities practically stopped all their other activities to focus on the Yazidis.

Those were hard days. I remember a small child, whose father was beheaded in front of him. The boy was paralysed by a nervous breakdown. We needed to send him to a fully equipped hospital, but the state did not provide free healthcare to the Yazidis. There are still no regulations or decrees issued by the Turkish government to allow Yazidis access to free healthcare services. In some hospitals, they could access services by declaring themselves to be Syrian.

The Turkish state has never welcomed Yazidis. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused Yazidis of not believing in God and used hateful rhetoric against them. The Kurdish movement prevented attacks against the Yazidis in Turkey, and also protected them in Iraq and Syria.

The Turkish state and international institutions did not support the Yazidi camps. The camps were funded by Kurdish municipalities with the support of activists and some NGOs such as the doctors’ union, the union of pharmacists, women and child NGOs and psychologists’ associations.

After one-and-a-half years, many of the Yazidis returned to Iraq. They were afraid of the Turkish state and thought it was collaborating with ISIS. Two years later, most of the camps in the region were closed and the remaining Yazidis transferred to the Diyarbakır Yazidi camp, which was 15 km from the city centre.

It was not easy to sustain the camp. After much effort, we managed to open a small school there. With the support of women NGOs in Diyarbakır, we established a women’s centre and a textile workshop for the Yazidi women. There was also a small health centre with volunteer doctors and medicine donated by the union of pharmacists. After a while, the camp became like a big village, managed by the camp committee, which included Yazidi men and women.

The camp was closed in January 2017, after the state appointed administrators to replace elected Kurdish mayors in the region. After the closure, thousands of Yazidis left. Some died in the Aegean Sea trying to leave Turkey, the lucky ones made it to Europe and thousands returned to Iraq. Around 1,500 Yazidis who did not have any other choice stayed in Diyarbakır. Authorities forced them into a state-run camp in Midyat where there thousands of Syrians were already living. The Yazidis at first refused to go there, but since it was winter, they had no choice. Under emergency rule, almost all Kurdish NGOs and institutions had been closed. No one remained to help them.

Then, two months ago, the state decided to close the Midyat camp and told the Yazidis to go to camps in Kilis and Antep. The Yazidis refused to go. They see these camps as centres dominated by ISIS sympathisers and Free Syrian Army militants.

Last week, I received a call in the middle of the night. It was from a Yazidi family living in the Midyat camp that I have known for a long time. The mother was crying, she did not know where to go. She told me “ISIS exiled us from Shengal, and now the Turkish state is exiling us from the camps. Where should we go?” I remained silent. I really had no answer.

Days later, I learned that 1,000 Yazidis have left the camp and have been dispersed around Midyat and its surrounding villages. They are again without home, food, clothing, healthcare and a future.

Four years have passed and the Yazidis in Turkey are still awaiting their fate

https://ahvalnews.com/yazidis/yazidis-t ... their-fate
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Sep 29, 2018 12:45 am

After ISIS:
Yazidi teen looks back on kidnapping
and brainwashing to be child soldier


Ashrawi Qasim Abdullah, an 18-year-old member of the Kurdish Yazidi religious minority, looks wistful as he speaks about his earlier teen years, when he was abducted and molded into a child soldier for the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group.

"I took pleasure in fighting," admits Ashrawi about his time in ISIS ranks after his kidnapping at age 14. His parents and older brother, taken at the same time, are still missing. The slender, timid-looking boy came back here in late August -- just a week before this interview -- to live with his uncle here.

Ashrawi lived in Sinjar, a district close to the Syrian border in northern Iraq, with his parents and siblings. ISIS fighters launched a series of surprise attacks on the local villages in Aug. 2014, and divided grown men from boys based on whether they had hair on their chests or in their armpits. Ashrawi was separated from his father and 21-year-old brother and moved from one prison to another. His mother and elder sister were sold as slaves.

The kidnapped boy "felt resentment" when IS fighters forced him to perform Islamic prayers five times a day. He received some basic strength training in ISIS-occupied Mosul in northern Iraq before being shifted to the militant group's "capital" of Raqqa, Syria, where he went through a full military training course.

When Ashrawi arrived at the training camp with about 30 other boys, they were issued beige camouflage uniforms. Under the supervision of three instructors, the boys endured two-hour workouts or a 2.5-kilometer run every morning, studied the Quran for two hours every afternoon, and trained with real guns for three hours every night. He tells the Mainichi Shimbun that he felt happy and, for the very first time, like a grown man when he first held a gun.

A whip would be used to repeatedly beat the bottom of the feet of anyone who misbehaved in Quran classes. Ashrawi worked hard to live everyday life, packed by the training schedule from sunup to sundown, as if he was competing with other children. He didn't feel uncomfortable, and described himself as a "Muslim warrior."

The child soldier's first exposure to combat came in the siege of an airport held by the Syrian armed forces. His initiation was quick, as he came under shelling almost as soon as he arrived. He saw a nearby Syrian ISIS fighter collapse, bleeding from both ears.

The siege continued for months. ISIS fighters launched surprise attacks in the night, but were always met with counterattacks. Countless bullets whizzed over Ashrawi's head. He would fire indiscriminately at the Syrian troops and retreat, take a nap, and return to the battlefront. Ashrawi says he felt no fear in those days as he declared, "I exist to kill our enemy, soldiers of the Syrian armed forces."

Meanwhile, Ashrawi's relatives were trying to bring him home, first seeking just to make contact. At last his elder sister, who had become an activist after escaping IS bondage and fleeing to Germany, managed to get in touch with the teen.

"You don't belong there. We're waiting for you," they told Ashrawi. It took them about a year to persuade the boy to think that "maybe ISIS is wrong." Then it was Ashrawi's turn to convince his Yazidi wife, who had also been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. One day in late July this year, the couple slipped out of their house before dawn and were taken to safety by a human smuggler Ashrawi's uncle had hired for $20,000.

Ashrawi does not know for certain if he took anyone's life. No one fell to one of his bullets that he could see, but he says someone could have been killed by his wild firing. The hearing in his right ear has deteriorated due to nearby bomb and shell blasts.

"I regret it, but if I hadn't obeyed (ISIS orders) I wouldn't be here," Ashrawi says of the four years he lost to the militant group. "My dream now is to go abroad somewhere and learn a foreign language," says the 18-year-old, sounding as if he simply wanted to forget everything.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20 ... na/030000c
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:36 pm

Survivor of Yazidi Genocide in Iraq to Speak at Middlebury

Nadia Murad, a survivor of the Yazidi genocide in Northern Iraq by ISIS fighters, will speak at Middlebury on Friday, October 5, at 7 p.m. in Wilson Hall. She is one of thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted by ISIS in August of 2014 and forced into the ISIS sex slave trade. Murad, who lost six of her nine brothers and her mother in the Kocho massacre, escaped after a month in captivity. Her talk at Middlebury is titled, “Hope Has an Expiration Date, Exploring the Plight of Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East.”

Murad practices the Yazidi religion, which is indigenous to northern Iraq and also found in parts of Syria and Turkey. The ancient faith preserves pre-Islamic and pre-Zoroastrian traditions. She grew up in the Iraqi village of Kocho, a quiet agricultural area that had good relations with its neighbors, both Christian and Muslim (Arab, Kurdish, and Turkmen). She attended secondary school and had hoped to become a history teacher or make-up artist. That all ended when ISIS attacked her homeland in Sinjar with the intention of ethnically cleansing Iraq of Yazidis.

Murad is founder of Nadia’s Initiative, a nonprofit “aimed at increasing advocacy for women and minorities and assisting to stabilize and redevelop communities in crisis.”

According to the group’s website, Nadia’s Initiative is working on efforts to establish meaningful and sustainable programming in the Sinjar region of Iraq through the Sinjar Action Fund. Following the IS attack of 2014, the Sinjar region has struggled to ensure the safety and livelihoods of the primarily Yazidi population now displaced throughout the country. The initiative seeks to establish both short and long-term programming aimed at redeveloping Sinjar, the ancient homeland of the Yazidi minority.

Murad is the author of the memoir, The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State (2017, Tim Duggan Books), a New York Times Editor’s Pick. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her humanitarian work, including the 2016 Shakarov Prize by the EU parliament; the 2016 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize; the Clinton Global Citizen Award; and being named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016.

Murad’s appearance at Middlebury is sponsored by the President’s Office as part of Middlebury’s ongoing Critical Conversations series. The talk is free and open to the public. Wilson Hall is on the second floor of McCullough Student Center on Old Chapel Road on the Middlebury campus. Murad’s talk is free and open to the public.

http://www.middlebury.edu/newsroom/arch ... ode/596130
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:05 pm

Sinjar had its school shut down by al-Qaeda-linked rebels
Now its children are flooding back to classrooms


The children of Syria’s Sinjar will remember their return to school this September for the rest of their lives.

Education ceased totally when this traumatised market town in northern Idlib province was overrun by jihadi rebels in 2014. Many families fled. Those who remained found themselves trapped in a nightmare.

Parents had the option of keeping their children hidden at home - or being taken away and indoctrinated by jihadis. Girls were covered up, while their mothers could not walk down the street.

Yet when I arrived at recently liberated Sinjar Elementary School this week, I found the headmaster, Mohamad Hussein, hard at work. He was busy painting a new sign in front of his school. It read in Arabic: “Sinjar Elementary School”.

At the start of 2018, when pro-Syrian government forces captured the town, this building was an arms dump.

There is still restoration work to be done, and I was told mortars still strike the town. But life is returning to normal after almost five years of pure, unadulterated horror.

The headmaster took me into a room where an alert, motivated, mixed class of about 25 children spoke to me of their dreams of becoming doctors, engineers and teachers.

Hussein looked older than his 47 years, and no wonder. This brave and softly spoken man has – like everybody else in in this tragic town - endured fear and suffering on a scale far beyond ordinary human comprehension.

Educated in Arabic language at Aleppo University 25 years ago, nothing prepared him, or his fellow teachers, for the horror of civil war.

He was given the choice of closing his school or being killed. Then he was confined to his house while the school buildings were converted into an arsenal. Even though he was prohibited from teaching, the Syrian education ministry continued to pay him.

Numbers of students in his school are down to 178 today from 600 when it closed five years ago. Some have fled to Turkey, Europe or elsewhere in Syria, while others have been killed.

Brutul rule

Hussain told me how an emir, known as al-Yemeni, had forced inhabitants of Sinjar to watch regular public beheadings, which took place on a railway line 150 meters from the school.

We walked up the road to inspect, and found the blade used for the executions lying on the ground by a lamppost. It was painted red, and when I ran my thumb tentatively along the blade, it was razor sharp.

Locals said there had been around 80 public beheadings. They pointed to a building 50 meters away. According to the town’s residents, the building had been a women-only market, until more than 100 were killed by a suicide attack early in the war.

I was told that people targeted for execution included those who aroused the suspicion or anger of jihadis, such as relatives of those working for the government, or for the army.

The headmaster said that jihadis banned state education but “took the children to the mosques by force”.

“They grow in their minds to kill and give them drugs. They want to wash their minds,” Hussain said. “They teach them not to obey their father and mother. They tell them that the first thing to think about is how to kill other Muslims.”

Hussain said that he taught his own four children at home during the rebel occupation, and fended off pressure to send them to Islamist schools.

The Syrian army retook Sinjar from al-Qaeda-linked rebels - once known as the Nusra Front, now more commonly as Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham - six months ago. Parents told me how they too had self-taught their children.

Yousef Ochda, an electrician, said he educated his two sons, now aged eight and seven, at home: “Now is the first months they are gone out. They are really happy.”

He recalled how his wife was forced to wear a burka and how he was pressurised many times to join rebel militias. “I told them I don’t have anything to do with politics.”

Other parents talked of their fear of Islamic courts. “Sometimes they put me in jail just for having a cigarette,” said one survivor.

Another showed me the deep scars on his leg after being hung upside down by chains for 24 hours. He said his son had been beheaded because his mother was an Alawite, the sect of President Bashar al-Assad.

Sweeping changes

At the end of a year in which the army has won back a great deal of territory, across Syria the education system is changing hands.

I went to a girls’ secondary school in the town of Douma, a suburb of Damascus in the Eastern Ghouta, which was returned to government control back in March. To reach the school we passed through scenes of utter devastation that bore testament to the scale and brutality of recent fighting.

The 35-year-old headmistress, who wished not to be named, told me her school had continued to operate under the control of Saudi-backed rebel group Jaish al-Islam, which held Douma.

But not normally. Her students, all between 13 and 16 years old, were forced to wear the hijab and banned from clapping their hands and taking public exams. Lessons in music, art and sport were banned.

Outside the headmistress’s office was the entrance to one of the many deep tunnels dug by fighters in order to avoid detection and protect them from attack. She said that she had refused offers from Jaish al-Islam to double her modest government salary if she agreed to teach at its own Islamist schools.

“Jaish al-Islam hated us. We are just small ladies teaching. They don’t want us to go into Damascus to collect our salary,” she said.

The Syrian national curriculum is strikingly similar to the western model, teaching maths, science, history, languages, art, music and Islamic studies. There are many reports of how rebel groups have sought either to Islamicise the state curriculum or abolish it altogether, as in Sinjar.

On my visit to liberated areas of Syria I was accompanied by a regime minder. These areas are still under close military control, and soldiers were often present as I spoke to parents and teachers.

I was unable for safety reasons to visit rebel areas, and witness the devastation caused by the government, or hear accounts of daily life from those living there.

Nevertheless I believe that the testimony I heard this week in Syria is authentic, and that for many Syrian children the army’s advance has given them the chance to resume schooling after five long-lost years.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/s ... -713682734
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:54 pm

'Most beautiful day of my life': Yazidi sex slave who was gang raped and
tortured by ISIS marries soulmate who helped put her back together again


Please click photo to enlarge
996

    Farida Khalaf, 22, was kidnapped by ISIS when she was 16 in Kocho, northern Iraq

    She was taken to Syria where she was repeatedly ganged raped and tortured by Islamic State militants for four months

    Farida finally escaped after four months in captivity through an unlocked door in 2014 and was taken with her mother and brothers to Mosul

    Six months later the family were relocated to Germany where she met fellow Yazidi refugee Nazhan Hassan, 24
A Yazidi sex slave who was gang-raped and tortured by ISIS terrorists has married her 'soulmate' who helped 'put her back together again', MailOnline can reveal.

Farida Khalaf, 22, says the most beautiful day of her life was marrying Nazhan Hassan in the German city of Cologne in front of 500 guests.

Farida, looking stunning in a hired traditional white lace gown and veil and wearing a traditional Yazidi red sash around her waist, told MailOnline: 'I never thought I'd be able to make a new world for myself, with love and happiness, after all that's happened. And yet now here I am embarking on the rest of my life with the man of my dreams.

'Whilst I was devastated that my father couldn't give me away, I feel like I have become part of a huge new family of everyone who has helped to make my wedding day possible. I can't thank them enough.'

Her husband Nazhan, 24, who travels the world with her telling her story to campaign for justice for the Yazidi people, added: 'I'm so happy, I've met the love of my life. I'll never forget this day.

'I'm so proud of her, she's such a fighter. Now we're planning a beautiful future together, where she won't ever have to go through anything alone again.'

Farida was 16 and dreamed of becoming a maths teacher in Kocho, northern Iraq, when everyone in her village was rounded up in August 2014 by IS.

She heard her father being shot dead. She was taken from her family to Syria, where she was held for four months and gang-raped and brutally beaten daily.

She finally managed to escape but felt so 'tainted' by her sexual abusers that she tried to kill herself several times. Her tormentors' attacks left her temporarily blind and unable to walk, while her skull was broken in three places. But then she found Nazhan and together they turned their devastated lives around.

Even all these years later she still breaks down every time she recalls everything that she has been through.

Yet she talks about her harrowing ordeal to strangers around the world, she has written a book called The Girls Who Beat ISIS and there is interest in her story being turned into a film.

The teenager was one of 7,000 Yazidi women and girls forced into sexual slavery when the militia took over her community's heartland in Sinjar, northern Iraq, and slaughtered around 10,000 people.

She was taken to Solag in northern Iraq where the pregnant and older women were removed and shot, with 80 of their bodies eventually found in another mass grave.

Farida lost her father and a brother in the bloodshed. Her mother, two brothers and 150 girls aged eight to 30 were taken with Farida to Mosul, with other Yazidis. She was separated from her family when she was sent on to Raqqa in Syria.

She told MailOnline: 'They did everything imaginable that you wouldn't want done to an animal. We were raped, humiliated and passed around daily. There were six men at a time.

'I tried to kill myself at least four times and I tried to escape. They beat me more because I challenged them and made them angry.'

After four months in captivity, Farida persuaded eight others to join her in fleeing through an unlocked door in a boarded-up Syrian house and even over a minefield to Kurdistan, northern Iraq, in December 2014. She was reunited with one brother there who'd survived the same mass shooting which had killed their father.

Six months later she was one of many Yazidis who were moved to Germany - with her mother and three brothers who had also escaped IS following several months later - and she met her fiancé there two years ago.

When Yazidi campaigner Saeed Sulaiman heard that the couple had no money to pay for their wedding he launched a Facebook appeal and raised around £5,000 from supporters around the world.

Groom Nazhan doubled the money collected to cover the cost of the event, around £10,000, and within just 20 days the wedding was planned and the couple finally exchanged their vows just days ago.

Saeed said: 'There are normally two singers at Yazidi weddings, but I had six asking me if they could take part in Farida's big day for free.

'A Yazidi businessman and a Dutch woman donated half of all of the costs.

'I've watched Farida crying and suffering hundreds of times as she repeats her tragic story, for the sake of all of the Yazidi people, including myself. So I wanted to make her smile again for her special day. Her smile and her happiness is the strongest weapon against IS.'

Farida is filmed on her wedding day smiling, crying with joy, doing a traditional Yazidi dance and holding her husband to applause from her wedding party guests – some who didn't even know the couple and who came uninvited from all over the world.

Nazhan continued: 'After all that we've been through, we haven't known joy like this in years.'

Farida – who still carries the name of her Iraqi village tattooed on her hand - added: 'I've had such a joyful day, something which I never imagined would be possible.'

She now campaigns globally for justice for the Yazidi people and for the preservation of Yazidi mass graves - to one day find the still missing remains of her father.

Nearly 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain in captivity

The UN has called the killings of thousands of Yazidis a genocide.

UN Security Council is collecting evidence to use against Islamic State.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is pushing for the Islamic group to be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court

Link to Photos:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... lmate.html
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