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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 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:09 pm

“Truck” carrying story on Yazidi refugee arrives at Fajr

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Kambuzia Partovi, director of the acclaimed drama “Café Transit”, is competing in the 36th Fajr Film Festival with his latest movies “Truck” that recounts the story of a Yazidi woman who becomes homeless after the Iraqi ethnic and religious minority is attacked by Daesh forces in the summer of 2014.

“By this film, I intend to say that we could be good supporters for each other during hard times and giving the refugees shelter could be viewed as a practice of humanity,” he said in a press conference after a screening of his movie on Friday.

“We still witness everyday people who are losing their lives across the world as they are fleeing their homes under the fire of wars to take refuge in other countries,” he added

Partovi planned to shoot the film in Turkey a few years ago after he failed to receive the then cultural officials’ permission to make it in Iran. The plan was not fulfilled after he could not cover the cost of production.

Composer Milad Movahhedi used a woman singer of Kormanj, a group of Kurdish nomads mostly living in Khorasan Razavi Province and North Khorasan Province, to perform a song for the film.

“This song should have an orchestral ambiance to feature the depth of the grief suffered by the people in the region,” Movahhedi said at the press conference, but the singer was not named.

“I asked the Kurdish singer to improvise about loneliness and homelessness… and the major part of the theme music begins when the Yazidi woman and her family join a trucker on a journey,” he added.

“This song has frequently been redone by many Kurdish singers and is about a woman who is searching everywhere for her missing husband,” he stated and said, “This story is similar to the one that is narrated in the film.”

Photo: Director Kambuzia Partovi (R) and cast members Nasrin Moradi (C) and Saeid Aqakhani pose during a photocall for “Truck” at the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran on February 2, 2018. (Mehr/Mohammadreza Abbasi)

http://www.tehrantimes.com/news/420951/ ... es-at-Fajr
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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 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:41 pm

Ezidis demonstrate in Shengal for Afrin

Hundreds of Ezidis carried out a demonstration of solidarity with Afrin in Shengal. On Sunday, a group from Shengal will head for Afrin.

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The protests against the attack of Turkish forces and militia under Turkish command on Afrin are widening. On Saturday, a demonstration took place in Shengal, attended by many women and children. It was the largest demonstration ever held in Shengal.

The crowd carried banners of the Shengal Democratic Autonomous Assembly, Freedom and Democracy Party of Êzidîs PADÊ), Free Ezidi Women’s Movement TAJÊ and Ezidi Youth’s Union YCÊ. In addition, pictures of Abdullah Öcalan and olive branches as a symbol of Afrin were carried.

At the closing rally, Neam Elyas on behalf of the TAJÊ said the attack on Afrin recalled the ISIS attack on Shengal on 3 August 2014.

At the end of the protest, a march to Afrin was announced for Sunday.
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:04 pm

Yazidi woman kidnapped and raped blasts ISIS fighter
By Natalie Corner

    Shireen a Yazidi woman was kept as a sex slave when she was captured by ISIS

    As part of a BBC show she revisits the Mosul house where she was held

    The Yazidi woman reveals she attempted suicide four times to escape

    Shireen meets an ISIS fighter who had three of his own sex slaves

    He is challenged over why he joined ISIS to which he reveals it was for money

    He also admits to raping 250 women and children, and killing 900 people

A Yazidi woman who was kidnapped by ISIS and sold as a sex slave has come face-to-face with a jihadist who took part in a raid on her home town of Sinjar.

Shireen, who was raped repeatedly by her captor Saif, retraced her steps to the Iraqi city of Mosul where she was held for two-and-a-half years, as part of a new BBC Three documentary fronted by Stacey Dooley called Face To Face With ISIS.

There she comes face-to-face with an ISIS fighter named Anmar - who took part on the raid of Shireen's home city and had three sex slaves of his own.

He revealed how he had raped more than 250 women and children - some as young as 15, adding that it was a 'very strong' desire that he was unable to control.

Horrified, Shireen tells him: 'You will pay for the tears of these girls.'

Anmar faces Stacey and Shireen's questions as he admits to killing 900 people and raping 250 women

During the programme, Shireen reveals her ordeal was so horrific she attempted suicide four times, before she managed to escape her living hell during the battle to regain the city in which her captor, Saif, was killed.

Shireen said: 'I lost hope to die, they wouldn’t let us kill ourselves. I tried four times.

'Saif would frighten and kill people. I’d rather have died than what go through what happened.'

At the end of their journey in Iraq, Stacey and Shireen challenge Anmar on why he joined the terrorist organisation to which he reveals it was for the money - before admitting he had killed 900 people during the reign of terror.

Stacey was left appalled when she questioned how many women and children Anmar raped during his time as a member of ISIS before he was arrested.

'During the time I was with them the 15 to 16 year olds maybe about 50 and the older ones, [I raped] over 200.'

'When it comes to having sex, no one can control it, it’s a very strong desire,' Anmar said.

'Even if she was trying to stop me, you know… But when I finished with her and saw her crying my heart would break for her.'

Shireen told him: 'If you had a good heart you wouldn’t take three girls and rape them on a daily basis. You enjoyed this.'

Admitting that he did, he then claimed: 'At the time it was different, I was put under pressure. I was required to do this.

The plight of the Yazidi women: What is happening to the ethnic Kurdish group under ISIS's control?

The Kurdish ethnic group, the Yazidis, have suffered massacres and oppression for generations and the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq has been under siege from ISIS since 2014.

Amal Clooney has campaigned for justice for the Yazidi women in Iraq

The UN has declared the killing of the Yazidi people by ISIS as genocide and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has been a constant campaigner for justice for the Yazidi women, many of whom have been raped by ISIS fighters.

Clooney said testimonies from young women and girls were among the most harrowing 'she'd ever heard'.

The Yazidis came under attack in August 2014 when Islamic State fighters rounded up men, women and children in northern Iraq, saying they’d be killed if they didn’t convert to Islam.

The Yazidis - a minority Kurdish group in Iraq - follow an ancient pre-Islamic faith.

The men were taken away and many were slaughtered. Some 7,000 Yazidi women and girls were forced into sexual slavery when the militia took over the community’s heartland in Sinjar, northern Iraq, and slaughtered 5,000 people.

Mass graves have been discovered across the country including one in Mosul that contained 4,000 bodies.

'If I didn’t kill my commander would be ready with his weapon behind me to kill me.'

But an emotional Shireen snapped: 'You will pay for the tears of these girls. This is the price for their deaths.'

Anmar agreed that was the least he should expect: 'I’m waiting for my fate, my fate is death.'

The terrorist, who arrived to the meeting in the back of a van with a hood over his face and shackled in chains, said he joined ISIS because he was poor.

'It was about money for me.'

He also revealed the tactics ISIS used to lure people to their death.

'With my hands the number of people I killed and slaughtered would be about 900 people, something like that.

'We would put up fake security checkpoints, as if we were police. We’d get 30, 40 people in a truck. We’d finish them and kill them.'

During their trip to Iraq, Shireen takes Stacey to one of the former markets that were set up to trade the women.

She explains that 100 women were sold at a time and more than 3,000 people are still missing, most likely in Syria.

Shireen she is still haunted by not knowing what happened to her sister who was taken at the beginning, and her father who also disappeared.

'Not knowing their fate is more painful than knowing that they are dead,' she told Stacey.

The pair are escorted by an Iraqi Comander as they search through the decimated city to locate Shireen’s escape house.

But when she begins to open up about her time with her captor Saif, she is cut off from answering Stacey’s questions about her experience by the Commander.

'Truly I would have rather have died than what happened here, but through this we want to tell the world, what happened here…' she began.

It's a culturally sensitive topic in Iraq, and Stacey explained that for the Commander who lost many men fighting ISIS to lead the women to safety, her words were too much.

Furious he attempted to shut the filming down: 'She is an Iraqi woman, an Iraqi woman. Any embarrassment for her is my embarrassment. I won’t let anyone insult her Iraqi-ness, insult her Iraqi-ness and her dignity.'

But Shireen, who now lives in a camp for refugees from the Mount Sinjar attack where her people were murdered and the women sold into slavery, said she won't be silenced any longer: 'I was the luckiest out of the girls. I was raped less than the others, as I was raped by just one person.

'They should get the ultimate punishment,' she added.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/artic ... ghter.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:24 pm

'They should get the ultimate punishment,' she added.

An almost painless execution is not an appropriate punishment for all that man has done X(

In a book I am reading someone was punished for sexual crimes by being stripped naked and having meat juice poured onto his penis and other parts

Then the dogs were let out :ymdevil:

He did not die but lived in pain, without a penis and a few other parts :ymapplause:

I have always believed the best way to stop jihadists was to cut their penises off and feed them to pigs - that way they would know they would NOT enter heaven and receive 72 virgins :ymparty:
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:31 pm

Clooneys on sponsoring Yazidi refugee who fled ISIS
By Khaleda Rahman For Dailymail.com

    Hazim Avdal was brought to the United States with the help of the Clooneys

    Adval is now a student at the University of Chicago, the couple have revealed

    They spoke about their decision in an interview with David Letterman for his Netflix show
George and Amal Clooney have revealed how the Yazidi refugee they sponsored after he fled ISIS is going to college in Chicago and living near George's parents.

Hazim Avdal was brought to the United States with the help of the Clooneys, who told David Letterman in an interview for his Netflix show why they decided to help him.

In an interview for the episode, Amal told Letterman that she met Avdal while representing a number of Yazidi refugees in her job as a human rights lawyer.

'I've had the privilege of representing a number of Yazidis, who have been the victims of genocide perpetrated by ISIS over the last couple of years, that's how I met Hazim,' Amal told Letterman.

'When I met him, I remember being so struck by his courage, but also by his amazing spirit, and how he spoke even after everything he'd lost, he spoke about a desire for justice, not revenge.'

She said she and her husband decided to make Avdal's dream of receiving an education in the US a reality when he spoke about it one day while they were all in New York.

'You didn't...give a gratuity': Clooney called out by Letterman

THE PLIGHT OF THE YAZIDIS: THOUSANDS SLAUGHTERED
7,000 TAKEN AS SEX SLAVES BY ISIS IN IRAQ


Yazidis are a religious minority who lived in an uneasy existence with their Muslim neighbors in Iraq and Syria.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled the August 2014 massacre in Sinjar by Islamic State militants.

About 7,000 women and girls were captured by the hard-line Sunni Muslim fighters who view Yazidis as devil worshippers.

Yazidi men and older women were killed. The younger women and girls were held in captivity for sex.

The United Nations described the massacres of the Yazidis as genocide with UN investigators estimating that more than 5,000 Yazidis were rounded up and slaughtered in the 2014 attack.

Investigations have documented horrific accounts of abuse suffered by women and girls.

Around 3,000 women are believed to remain in ISIS captivity.

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

She now lives in Germany and told of her experience being beaten and sold as a sex slave by ISIS militants in her book 'The Last Girl.'

To escape, Murad saw a fleeting chance 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 Islamic State by people she had asked for help.

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

In the book, Murad recounted her life in a northern Iraqi village, her brutal captivity, her tension-filled escape and feelings of betrayal and abandonment by those who failed to help.

Amal Clooney, who represents Murad and wrote the foreword to 'The Last Girl,' is campaigning for ISIS to be prosecuted through the International Criminal Court. In September, the United Nations Security Council approved the creation of an investigative team to collect, preserve and store evidence in Iraq of acts by ISIS.

Letterman visits Avdal in Augusta, Kentucky, in an upcoming episode of his Netflix show

'I know we all had the same thought, which was, 'Well, maybe there's something we can do to help with that.''

It comes after the UN Security Council voted to set up an investigation team to collect evidence on the massacres of Iraq's Yazidi minority and other atrocities committed by ISIS in Iraq.

Britain drafted the resolution to help bring perpetrators of ISIS war crimes to justice - a cause championed by the international human rights lawyer.

Amal, who was present for the vote in September, represents Yazidi women who were taken hostage and used as sex slaves by the terror group as it swept into Iraq's Sinjar region in August 2014.

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:36 pm

Yazidi girl who escaped ISIS captivity dies of acute heart failure

RIP Shahd

Shahd Khodr Mirza, a Yazidi girl who hails from the town of Tal Banat in Iraq, passed away on Tuesday at 16 years old after being under ISIS captivity for three years.

Shahd died at a hospital in Dahuk in Iraq’s Kurdistan after suffering from acute heart failure which may have resulted from the physical and psychological torture she suffered while being held by ISIS.

Farida Fleit, who works at the NGO Yazda which supports Yazidi minorities, told Al Arabiya that Shahd was continually raped by several ISIS members during her years of captivity.

Quoting Shahd’s 12-year-old brother, Farida said Shahd and her brother, Shaher, were kidnapped in front of their school in Talafar in 2014 by an Iraqi man.

After the man raped and tortured her, Shahd was then “sold” in Syria to an ISIS member named Abu Khalil al-Baghdad. Shaher was separated from his sister and taken to an ISIS camp in Syria.

Shahed and her brother escaped when the man who had bought Shahd, Abu Khalil, was moving them to another area in Syria. During their journey, they passed by a location controlled by Kurdish units where Shaher told Kurdish fighters that Abu Khalil was an ISIS member.

The siblings were then taken to Iraq where they reached the town of Khan Sour on January 5. Shahd was immediately transferred to hospital according to Fleit who was with her three days prior to her death.

The fate of her father, four brothers and two sisters remains unknown as ISIS also kidnapped them on the same day she was abducted.

Shaher is now with his mother and uncle and lives with the hope of learning anything about his father and siblings.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/m ... ilure.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:18 am

International Help Needed for the Yazidis
Shivani Ekkanath

SEATTLE — The Yazidi people are a small Kurdish-speaking minority ethnic group residing in northern Iraq with a heritage steeped in a 4,000-year-old faith. Considered by many to be the oldest religion in the world, Yazidism blends elements from pre-Zoroastrian roots, Islam and Christianity as well.

Since the rise of the Islamic State in 2014, there has been a great persecution of minority groups in the region. The battle against the self-declared caliphate reached a height in 2017. Joint U.K. and U.S.-led coalition forces have made great headway in providing aid and liberating large swaths of previously IS-dominated territory. Though not widely known, the threat of mass displacement and the plight of the Yazidis are especially grave concerns. The death toll of this minority group passed 3,100 in 2017, with many individuals still either lost or unaccounted for.

Of the 700,000 Yazidis globally, there are an estimated 600,000 currently living in Iraq. Nearly 85 percent of them are refugees. Unfortunately, they face a long history of oppression in the region, as there are major constraints on their culture, language and practices. The unfortunate plight of the Yazidis is almost akin to a genocide.

Given the scale of the problem, the plight of the Yazidis remains serious. A majority of them are scattered across the Syrian-Iraqi border. The Iraq-Syria border and the cities of Dohuk and Sinjar are at the forefront of the Yazidi problem. Given its proximity to the Iraqi city of Mosul, Sinjar was left defenseless after falling to IS in 2014.

The enslavement of Yazidi women and children remains the biggest issue associated with the problem. Nearly 3,000 Yazidi women continue to be held captive by IS forces. The disturbing and egregious accounts of escaped victims highlight the presence of sex trafficking in Sinjar, Dohuk and other parts of Iraq. The Kurdistan and Sinjar Women’s Protection Units are realizing the importance of protecting Yazidi women. Women recruits are being trained to defend themselves better and participate in rescue initiatives.

The Turkish Red Crescent has played a pivotal role to combat the problem throughout the course of the conflict. As an important regional partner, Turkey’s management and access to the problem remains strategic. In 2014, Turkey built a refugee camp with the capacity to accommodate over 16,000 Yazidis. Turkey also provided humanitarian aid to cater to the immediate needs of the people. Over 20,000 blankets were given to homeless Yazidis.

Furthermore, USAID is also focusing its aid efforts on minority groups in the Middle East. USAID and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) also jointly consented to concentrating on the recovery of minority groups. The UNDP Funding Facility for Stabilization was also reviewed.

As many Yazidi Muslims have fled the city of Sinjar, a majority of them are taking refuge in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. The restoration and reconstruction of the city of Sinjar can only begin with cooperation between the Kurdistan regional government, the Iraqi government, and the international community. Resettlement agendas should also continue to be a key objective in alleviating the effects of the conflict.

Given the sheer size of the growing humanitarian crisis facing key stakeholder groups in Iraq, it is vital to address the plight of the Yazidis. This will bring about a new and important phase in mitigating the impacts of the IS problem in the region as it focuses on the recovery and protection of important minority groups.

http://www.borgenmagazine.com/plight-of-the-yazidis/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:08 pm

Yazidi Women Finally Go To School
Defying ISIS And Their Own Parents

Jane Arraf

Before she went to New York last fall to speak to thousands of people, Najla Hussin had never been more than a few hundred miles from her village in northern Iraq.

Hussin, 20, is from Sinjar in northern Iraq, where ISIS swept in four years ago to kill and enslave members of the ancient Yazidi religious minority.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for girls' education, met Hussin and other young Yazidi women during a trip last summer to the Kurdistan region of Iraq. She invited Hussin to speak on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

For Malala, Now 20, Birthdays Are Best Spent With Girls Who Dream Big

ISIS massacred Yazidi men and is believed to have captured more than 6,000 Yazidi women and children in 2014 - using many of the girls and women as sex slaves and rewards for militants. The kidnappings and killings are considered genocide by the United States and the United Nations.

Before ISIS, the Yazidi community in Sinjar was one of the poorest and most underdeveloped groups in Iraq. In some villages, it was considered improper for girls to go to school. But now, young Yazidi women like Hussin have resolved to take their future into their own hands.

"It was a new experience and it was good for me to do everything alone," says Hussin, in a village in the Kurdistan region of Iraq where her family now lives. "I was happy because I shared my story with people and they will know how hard I worked to get an education."

There were a lot of firsts on Hussin's five-day trip. The first time in an airport and on a plane, the first time in a big city.

When Hussin first spoke to NPR, she had dyed her hair turquoise blue, which faded to green. It was a small rebellion among some much bigger ones. She's under 5 feet tall and in her checked shirt and jeans she looks even younger. But she is fierce.

"When I was 8, I wasn't going to school and all the boys were going. I asked my parents, 'Why can't I do the same?'" she says.

Najla Hussin in her family's trailer that she shares with some of her 12 brothers and sisters. Hussin, a 20-year-old Yazidi woman, has struggled, against her parents objections, with the suicide of a friend and displacement by ISIS' genocide of her people, to go to school. She's now in ninth grade.

In socially conservative Sinjar, girls were expected to stay home and do work in the house or on the farm until they married as teenagers. Hussin persuaded her parents to let her attend primary school. That stopped in seventh grade.

"They said, 'That's enough of going to school. She should be a housewife,'" Hussin recalls her parents saying. "I was thinking of myself as a child, not as a married woman ... and I thought all my dreams won't come true."

Runaway bride

So she escaped. On the very day she was to marry the son of a friend of her father's, she threw off her high heels, hiked up her long dress and ran. When she came back a few days later, her father was so angry he didn't talk to her - or let her go to school - for a year.

Then she witnessed something so terrible she didn't want to study. Her best friend died after setting herself on fire. The friend's brother had found out she had a boyfriend and was threatening her.
Self-Immolation Rises As Desperate Tunisians Seek Escape From Poverty

"I saw her when she was burning," Hussin says. "I saw everything and after that I couldn't focus on anything. I was thinking of that all the time."

A whole year went by and she had no interest in studying. Then ISIS came to their village.

Like many Yazidis who escaped to the Kurdistan region, Hussin's family ended up living in a construction site with plastic sheets for walls.

There was no school, and there were no teachers, so Hussin gathered the younger children from the neighborhood together to teach them to read and write.

A year later, she got to go to school again. That's where she met Hadiya Haskan, who also escaped from Sinjar. We went to visit Haskan in a nearby camp for displaced Yazidis.

When Haskan first spoke to NPR last summer after meeting Malala, she still had big dreams. She wanted to go to college, maybe in America. She wanted to be a writer.

Hadiya Haskan and her husband Amin Shani Bagi in their tent in a camp for displaced Yazidis in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Haskan is 19 and in 11th grade. She dreamed of going to college but says she had to get married because her family needed the money. "It's alright though because I love him," she says.

A few months later, she was married. She's 19 and in 11th grade — like almost all Iraqis in areas that were under ISIS control, she lost years of school.

She says she got married because her father and brothers couldn't find jobs and her family was desperate for money. In traditional Yazidi culture, the groom pays the bride's family. Her family received about $3,000 — enough to pay the medical bills and living expenses for her brother to go to college.

"Our family situation was very bad," says Haskan, over tea in her tent. "I needed to go to the doctor and there was no money and my brother wanted to go to college and there was no money. I felt so bad just thinking about our situation."

Haskan says it's OK because she loves her husband. Amin Shani Bagi, 23, is smart, at the top of his political science class in university, and handsome. He says if Haskan gets into college, he will help her study.

It isn't the life that Haskan dreamed of, growing up in a village in Sinjar. None of her five older sisters had ever gone to school, but she insisted that she shouldn't stay home just because she was a girl.

It was a two-hour walk. When she couldn't go, she studied at home with her brothers' and cousin's books — including an English dictionary.

"I said, 'What's this?' They said, 'It's a dictionary.' I said, 'I want to read this,'" Haskan recalls. "I was 8 or 9. So I read the English dictionary and then when I went to school I was the best in the class."

Haskan ran away from home at 15 when her parents told her she had to drop out of school to marry her cousin.

"I told them, 'I don't know anything about love.' I said, 'I don't want to marry. What's wrong with you — all of you?'"

She eventually returned home and went back to school. But everything changed four years ago when ISIS swept into Sinjar, killing Yazidi men and kidnapping women and children.

'I really love Anne Frank'

Haskan and her family escaped through Syria and into the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Like most Yazidis, they ended up living on construction sites and in camps with no running water or electricity. For more than a year there were no schools for the displaced Yazidis.

Four years later, with ISIS gone, Sinjar is still too unstable to go home.

Apart from mattresses on the floor, Haskan and Bagi's tent is mostly bare. There is a television with a few books on a stand underneath. One of them is The Diary of Anne Frank — the story of the Jewish teenager who kept a journal while in hiding in German-occupied Amsterdam during the Holocaust. Anne Frank was 15 when the Nazis found her family and sent them to a concentration camp.

Haskan says she was the same age when ISIS came to Sinjar to slaughter the Yazidis.

"I really love Anne Frank ... I am thinking she is in the same situation like me," Haskan says, sitting on the floor of the tent. "It is a different war but the same things happen to us — especially girls."

Hussein shows me a wedding photo. She's wearing a pale yellow party dress, not the big white wedding dress she'd always planned. Instead of splurging on a party, the couple used the money in an unsuccessful attempt to get to Germany. After three years of living in a camp, Bagi says no one is helping them.

"We Yazidis had top students and a lot of them were killed when ISIS came — that's why we don't have a future here," Bagi says.

The young women talk about their futures. Haskan is certain they will get to Germany. She still plans on being a writer.

Hussin says she can't decide whether she wants to be a photojournalist or a nurse. But she knows she wants to be something.

"I'm 20, I should be in college," says Hussin, who is in ninth grade. "But this is the situation. I don't give up."

Link to Article - Photos:
https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/ ... -own-paren
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:19 pm

ISIS still haunts dreams of Yazidi children

The Islamic State has been defeated on the battlefield, but the terror remains for 8-year-old Medya.

The Yazidi girl, found to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome, is tormented by images of the bearded, black-clad ISIS soldiers who held her captive for three years and repeatedly raped her mother, Saran, in the room next door.

Medya would cry when she heard her mother’s screams. And even today, when the images become unbearable, Medya faints, sometimes several times a day, said Dr. Jan Kizilhan, a German doctor of Kurdish background who works with traumatized Yazidi women and children.

ISIS views the Yazidis, a non-Muslim group whose homeland is in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq, as devil worshipers whose religion is not among the Abrahamic faiths. ISIS thus considers Yazidis outside the protections of Islamic law, and deserving of harsh punishment.

ISIS fighters invaded the Yazidi homeland in August 2014, killed thousands of Yazidi men and took women as sex slaves. Many Yazidis fled Sinjar, and were stranded in the nearby mountains. Some escaped with the help of American airlifts, and airstrikes against ISIS. Kurdish fighters led the remaining Yazidis to the safety of nearby refugee camps, where they now languish.

Medya and her mother are now in a camp with 8,000 refugees in Mam Rashan, two hours from the Sinjar region. Despite the proximity to their homeland, many refugees are afraid to return.

These fears are understandable, said Elizabeth Prodromou, a professor of religion and geopolitics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, Mass.

“There are reports that former members of ISIS have shaved their beards and don’t wear their traditional black clothes,” Prodromou said in an interview. “Some of them have moved back to abandoned villages, and are melding into the Sunni population.”

Prodromou noted that some Yazidis keep their suitcases packed in the event they have to leave at a moment’s notice. “The military defeat of ISIS does not mean the end of ISIS,” she said.

The defeat of ISIS also does not mean the end of the group in the minds of traumatized women and children. Dr. Kizilhan sees the urgency of helping Medya and those who have suffered unspeakable horrors at the hands of ISIS.

Fainting is Medya’s escape from the evil she often witnessed in her young life, Dr. Kizilhan said, speaking of the girl's sense of alienation and inability to trust people. This is evident when she is asked a question. Instead of looking at the questioner, she replies to her Minnie Mouse doll, Alis, which she clutches, said Kizilhan.

Medya didn’t speak to anyone, including her mother, for some time. But since Kizilhan and his team of local psychologists have been counseling her, she has become more trusting.

“Sometimes she tells me of dreaming of the natural beauty of the region with snow-capped mountains and streams,” he said. “She is a very smart girl, and if we can rid her of this trauma, she will have a bright future.”

In addition to the work he and his team of therapists do in the refugee camps, Kizilhan currently treats a thousand badly abused Yazidis in his clinic near Stuttgart, Germany.

The German state of Baden-Wurttemberg is helping to train more psychologists in the Yazidi region of Iraq. The state has contributed $1.2 million for the training program.

“A group of the trainees will be taught to educate future therapists themselves,” said Theresia Bauer, minister of science, research and the arts for Baden-Wurttemberg.

Asked whether Germans have a special responsibility to help victims of persecution, Bauer emailed this response: "We have a historical responsibility. This has to be remembered again and again. In this respect it is important to learn from history, to make the present and the future better.”

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/19 ... ldren.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:35 pm

Yezidi survivor won't return to Iraq for fear of new 'genocide'
By Nina Larson

Farida Abbas Khalaf, one of thousands of Yezidi women abducted, raped and brutalised by Islamic State group fighters, says the jihadists' departure has not made it safe to return to Iraq.

"Everything is still the same. The same people who joined (ISIS) are still in those neighbourhoods. How can we return and trust them again?" Khalaf said in an interview with AFP this week.

"Who will guarantee that genocide will not happen again, by perpetrators using another name?" she asked, speaking through a translator.

Khalaf was 18 when ISIS fighters arrived in her once peaceful village of Kocho in Iraq's northern Sinjar region on August 3, 2014.

Speaking on the sidelines of a summit for human rights defenders in Geneva, the young woman with long black hair and sorrowful eyes said she and her family never expected to be attacked.

"We hadn't harmed anybody, we hadn't offended anybody... We just wanted to live in peace," she said.

But the Kurdish-speaking Yezidis, who follow a non-Muslim faith, became particular targets of hatred for the Sunni Muslim ISIS extremists that seized Sinjar in 2014 and unleashed a brutal campaign against the minority that the United Nations has called a "genocide."

When ISIS jihadists descended on the village, they gave the Yezidis two weeks to convert to Islam – or risk the consequences.

Khalaf, who has written a book about her experience titled: "The Girl Who Beat ISIS," described what happened when those two weeks were up.

- Taken to slave market -

"They gathered all of us in the village and they asked us to convert. We refused, and they started killing the men," she told AFP.

"That one day alone they killed more than 450 men and boys."

Khalaf's father and one of her brothers were among those killed, and she was abducted.

"When we were taken, they did everything to us. They raped women and girls as young as eight," she said.

Khalaf was taken to one of ISIS's infamous slave markets, where Yezidi women and girls were sold and traded as sex slaves across the jihadists' self-proclaimed and since-crumbled "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq.

"They picked the ones they wanted, just like they were at the supermarket or buying an animal," she said.

In captivity, Khalaf said she managed to remain strong despite undescribable torment, seeking inspiration in her faith and upbringing, and in her desire to provide support to the younger girls held and ravaged alongside her.

She said she never stopped thinking about escape, and after four months, a poorly locked door gave her and several other girls their chance to get away.

After a long and arduous journey, she finally made her way to Germany, which has taken in more than 1,000 Yezidi survivors, providing them with refuge and psycho-social support.

- 'Bringing ISIS to justice' –

Asked what her daily life is like now, she said it was focused on helping ensure recognition of the genocide committed against the Yezidis and "bringing ISIS to justice."

Baghdad declared victory over the jihadist group last December after a years-long battle to retake large swathes of territory the extremists seized in 2014.

But that is far from enough, Khalaf said, insisting: "I want to see ISIS and those who committed these crimes in international court."

She said she was consumed with thoughts of the estimated 3,000 Yezidi women and girls who remain in captivity, and of the thousands who have gotten away but remain stuck in poorly serviced camps in Iraq.

"They need help, they need treatment, and they are not getting that" in the camps, she said, warning that without support, "many will die from suicide."

She hailed Germany, Canada and Australia for taking in many Yezidi survivors, but said there was an urgent need for more countries to do their part.

She also called on the international community to help rebuild the villages destroyed in Sinjar and to provide protection to Yezidis interested in returning home.

"I could only consider going back once I see justice, an international court recognising this as a genocide, and with international protection," she said.

"Otherwise, how can we know we will not face another genocide?"

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/230220184
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:40 pm

Yazidis and their faith: There's more to it than just a quick paragraph
By Julia Duin

Please click on image to enlarge
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One often hears how one person can make a world of difference. In a recent New Yorker piece, “The Daring Plan to Save a Religious Minority from ISIS,” a writer who specializes in greater Kurdistan – an area that overlaps into four countries – talks about the Yazidis. (Some spell their name as “Yezidi;” either are correct).

We are not talking about just any Yazidis: Three men who took it upon themselves to try to save their countrymen in Iraq from genocide. With so many Christians fleeing Iraq, that leaves the Yazidis as the largest non-Muslim minority in the country. (This policy brief from the Middle East Institute explains their history and religion, which is based on the worship of a peacock angel, pictured with this piece).

The New Yorker article began with three Yazidis: Hadi Pir, Murad Ismael and Haider Elias, who became interpreters for the American military in Iraq. All received visas to move to themselves and their families to United States (to escape reprisal in Iraq) and were leading more or less ordinary lives until Aug. 2, 2014, when ISIS moved against Yazidis about 6,700 miles away.

    At three in the morning, when they pulled into the parking lot of their apartment complex, dozens of their Yazidi neighbors were outside on the lawn, talking on their cell phones and crying.

    “Isis has taken over Sinjar,” a neighbor said. “Everyone is running to the mountain.”

    Isis came into Sinjar at dawn, with the intention of wiping out Yazidism in Iraq. The group’s Research and Fatwa Department had declared that, unlike Christians or Shia Muslims, Yazidis were a “pagan minority.” The Kurdish soldiers retreated without warning, after determining that their position was untenable. Yazidis ran from their homes and scrambled up the rocky slopes of Mt. Sinjar. Trucks jammed with people overturned on narrow roads. Homes north of the mountain quickly emptied; with the roads controlled by Isis, thousands of Yazidis were trapped in the southern villages.

Back in the States, the horrified Yazidis could follow the fighting via cell phone as their relatives called them whenever they could to relate the increasing horrors they were facing. About 100 former interpreters formed a crisis management team to try to bring media attention to the coming genocide.

By Aug. 7, they were in Washington, D.C., demonstrating in front of the White House, then showing up at the State Department to plead their case. Notice the details of this meeting.

    An elderly Yazidi dressed in a traditional white robe cinched with a red cummerbund was so overcome that he could barely walk. They were led to a conference room, packed with State employees. Doug Padgett and Leanne Cannon, two early-career officials who had been fielding calls from the Yazidis, stood by the windows, and Thomas O. Melia, their boss at the D.R.L., sat at a table. The Yazidis told stories of families killed by isis, homes destroyed, and the unbearable conditions on the mountain. Ismael noticed that Padgett, a six-foot-five-inch former Navy officer, was crying. “I didn’t think that the U.S. will care that much about us,” Ismael told me. “To be honest, we are a small minority in the middle of nowhere.”

The traditional white robe might mean the old man is a Yazidi clergyman. We're not told. It turns out that the Yazidis knew Mt. Sinjar quite well and the U.S. State Department, operating on outdated maps, did not. The article goes on to detail an amazing arrangement the Yazidis had with the U.S. military whereby their relatives in Sinjar were calling their relatives – who were encamped in a Maryland suburb – with intelligence that went up to the U.S. intelligence chain that eventually made it to the bombers strafing ISIS positions.

The article is full of insider-only details that only someone with major access to the major players would know. (The writer was once an Istanbul-based journalist who has written widely about Kurdish regions before) There is great insider information on how the State Department grew to trust the Yazidi players and their on-the-ground sources.

Then again, there are also the sadder aspects; for instance how even the Americans couldn’t prevent much of the killing of Yazidi men and sex slavery for Yazidi women that resulted.

    A military contact of Cannon’s watched the massacre unfold on satellite imagery. “We saw guys getting shot in the back of the head and pushed into the ditches,” he told me. “Couldn’t do a damned thing about it.” U.S. forces didn’t have airplanes at the ready, he explained, and even if they had it was too difficult to save the villagers while killing the militants. “What happens if we go whack a bunch of guys who are gonna get shot in the head, but they don’t have to get shot in the head because we killed them?” he asked. “What does Isis say? ‘Americans killing innocents.’ ”

Yet, there is one huge faith-shaped hole here. The Yazidi religion, which is the basis for this people being so horribly persecuted by ISIS, is hardly touched upon. There is this brief description at the beginning of the piece:

    Yazidis have suffered centuries of religious persecution, based largely on the false idea that they revere the sun as God and worship a fallen angel. Though Yazidis pray toward the sun, and worship seven angels, they are monotheistic, and there is little to distinguish their God from the Muslim or the Christian one.

That last sentence is so blatantly false, one wonders how any literate copy editor could let it pass.

Allah is miles away from the deity the Yazidis worship and the triune God known in Christianity is a whole other planet. Plus, this Yazidi site claims this angel was not fallen, nor was it Satan, as Muslims have accused it of being.

One never gets an idea of how the U.S.-based Yazidis practice their faith. Do they have shrines in places like Lincoln, Neb., where exists the country’s largest Yazidi community? Are there clergy involved? Were any religious leaders part of this struggle? Hadi Pir belongs to the Yazidi clergy caste, but that's not pointed out in this piece.

I looked up another New Yorker story by another author about the sex slavery Yazidi women had to undergo and likewise found next to nothing about the religion itself. In all the pieces I’ve read about ISIS and their reign of terror in northern Iraq and Syria, one heard a lot about Islamic practices but nothing about Yazidi ones.

But that information can be found. In theconversation.com, a web site run by the University College in London, I found a story by two researchers who visited Yazidis in Kurdish refugee camps.

    Regarding matters of religion, they express a chastened equanimity. After all, they say, the present suffering was prophesied.

    The oldest man at the camp, Sado Elyas, put it this way: “A hundred years ago, the white-bearded elders (kuchk) foretold that the present generation would face an onslaught of persecution. They described the IS attack exactly: some Yazidis would escape to the mountain and later be rescued.”

    The experience, he said, has reminded this community of the importance of their traditions: “Over time, people lost faith in the elders and viewed them as perpetually gloomy naysayers. The youth forgot them amid the distractions of new technologies. But what happened last year showed us that we need to listen again to the elders.”

    His nephew, Khalid Qasim, added his own recollection of the prophecy, with a glimmer of hope: “The 100-year-old prophecy also said that circumstances for the Yazidis will deteriorate even further, but after the destruction of Yunus’s (Jonah’s) tomb in Mosul, the Yazidis’ situation will begin to improve.”

Theconversation.com also offers this explanation of the Yazidi religion, one of the better ones I’ve seen. And this piece in the Independent explains the holy Yazidi site of Lalish (pictured atop this article), near the Kurdish city of Dohuk.

So it is possible to include elements about their faith in a story, so I'm puzzled why the New Yorker writer left that out. Had she put some in there but an editor removed it? Or wasn't the tenets of the faith considered important to the story?

We at GetReligion use the term "religion ghost" to signify the missing religion element in a story. I'd call this article a half religion ghost. The faith is referred to but never explained. After all, people died at the hands of the Islamists to stay true to their faith. Those martyrs at least deserve a decent explanation of it.

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion ... -paragraph
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 23, 2018 3:00 am

Iraq reacts to Erdoğan for Shengal: “We won’t allow it!”

The Iraqi government has responded to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threats to invade Shengal.

Shengal was on the agenda in the meeting Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim el Caferi held with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yıldız.

Caferi’s office issued a written statement after the meeting that said, “Iraq will not allow the presence of any forces that carry out military operations in neighboring countries on its territory.”

Caferi said the Iraqi government won’t accept the Turkish forces invading the border and demanded Turkey pull their forces in the Bashika camp.

Following the massacres in Afrin, Turkish President Erdoğan frequently threatens Kurds with invasions. In a statement made on Monday, he threatened they could “one night suddenly” enter Shengal.
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:15 am

Why we help Yazidis

The tragic situation of the Yazidi people has garnered worldwide attention in recent years.

In 2014, the Yazidis in the northern Iraqi province of Sinjar were subject to a forced conversion campaign at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS). In the process, ISIS kidnapped over 7,000 women and children and many of them were conscripted as sex slaves. They also murdered over 10,000 Yazidi men and boys and expelled over half a million from their ancestral homelands.

More than 3,000 Yazidis are still missing - most being used as sex slaves

There have been 74 reported genocides perpetrated against the Yazidis


While the volunteers have have gone to great lengths to provide aid and counseling to the Yazidi survivors and to persecuted Christian and Shia populations, their precarious situation continues. Many currently live in limbo in refugee camps in northern Iraq. During my visit to the refugee camps, I have personally witnessed the difficult living conditions that Yazidis are living through. Many in the camps are at risk of exploitation and all of them suffer from a lack of basic supplies. There are also those refugees who live in unfinished buildings outside the camps where they are exposed to unhygienic conditions and lack access to food, medicines, blankets, toilets and other basic necessities.

I want to state unequivocally that the persecution of the Yazidis is unacceptable. There is no role for prejudice in any faith or civic tradition, and our work to help the Yazidis must continue.

Along these lines, let me be clear: The Yazidis have been attacked because of their different belief system, not because of any fault of their own. This must not stand in the 21st century.

So, who are the Yazidis?

The Yazidis are predominantly ethnic Kurds who number approximately 700,000 worldwide, most of them tracing their ancestral lands to northern Iraq. Their name means “worshippers of God” and the Yazidi faith dates from 11th century Zoroastrianism, Islam and Christianity.

The Yazidis’ faith includes the worship of a fallen angel, Melek Tawwus, a belief that has caused IS to label the Yazidis as devil-worshippers and has been the justification for their persecution over centuries.

To this end, al Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to IS, denounced the Yazidis as infidels and endorsed their killing, and the Yazidis suffered countless massacres under 18th and 19th century Ottoman rule.

Some may ask themselves, why help the Yazidis, and why help religious minorities in general?

Protecting religious minorities and their religious freedom is one of both America’s and my own country, India’s, most fundamental ideals upon which our nations were founded.

President George Washington helped articulate this principle when he wrote to the Jewish community in Newport, Rhode Island in August 1790, sharing that as a religious minority, they are welcome in the United States and ought not to fear maltreatment. He wrote, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship … for, happily, the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance”.

India too welcomed Jewish as well as Parsi communities when they escaped persecution in their respective countries. The early immigrants of both communities were given land to settle down along with their places of worship and their businesses. They were free to follow their faith and had equal opportunities in every field.

In this spirit, we should be proud of the volunteers who bring relief to the Yazidi refugee camps in the form of food, water and hygiene products. Through working with the Iraqi national government, they have made a difference in the lives of Yazidi refugees who survived the brutal onslaught of IS.

Happily, other charitable organizations and governments have also become involved with relief for the Yazidis. Together, their efforts have helped improve the Yazidis’ situation and prospects.

Although four years have already passed since IS began its campaign of abuse against the Yazidis, we musn’t become complacent in our responsibility to help them. Our obligation to help vulnerable Yazidi, Christian and Shia populations remains, and the world must not look the other way when crimes against humanity are committed.

We need to stand with those who are targeted and tormented for their beliefs, whether they’re Yazidi, Hindu, Christian, Muslim or of any other faith. It is important that actors of goodwill advocate on behalf of the Yazidis and all religious minorities to protect them from attacks and preserve their heritage.

To this end, we must provide protective environments where people of all backgrounds can enjoy their freedoms, and we must emphasize and repeat the universal importance of the fundamental freedom of worship.

By standing up and vigilantly promoting our core values, we can make a difference and continue to be a shining light in the world.

I urge the world community to continue to protect religious liberty and religious minorities

The Yazidis still need our help and must not be abandoned.


Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values which collaborate on humanitarian initiatives worldwide. Sri Sri’s work includes armed conflict resolution, U.S. Veteran PTSD relief, prisoner rehabilitation, addiction treatment, poverty alleviation and human rights advocacy. His programs have reached an estimated 370 million people in 155 countries.

http://thehill.com/opinion/national-sec ... qs-yazidis
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:06 pm

Yazidi Massacre in Afrin:
Children Killed, Villages Bombed, Temples Destroyed

Yazidis, a historically persecuted non-Muslim people in the Middle East, are yet again fleeing for their lives — this time from Turkey-backed jihadists invading Afrin in northern Syria.

Murad Ismael, executive director of Yazda, a relief organization for Yazidi victims of genocide, has alerted the world to the deadly threat posed by Turkish airstrikes many times on his social media accounts and on March 12 wrote on Twitter:

    "We are evaluating what to do when the [whole] city falls, including an option to ask our people to leave the region altogether. We cannot have our people in Afrin under Al Nusra and other fundamentalists."

On March 18, his worst fears became reality. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that the Turkish military and Turkey-backed jihadists of Free Syrian Army (FSA) took complete control of Afrin city center.

Saad Babir, Yazda's media director, said that since the beginning of the invasion, jihadists have attacked and captured several Yazidi villages as Turkish planes bombed the area including the Yazidi village of Ternda, which has been bombed by the Turkish military around 20 times.

There are 30 Yazidi villages located in Afrin and surrounding territories with a Yazidi population of around 20,000, Babir said in an exclusive interview with Haym Salomon Center.

    The death toll has been heavy. "Many Yazidi civilians, including children, have been murdered," Babir said.

Hundreds of Yazidis have already fled their villages, and they are in need of food and medicine, he added.

Babir also pointedly remarked that Turkey-backed jihadists have destroyed many Yazidi temples in Afrin and converted others into mosques.

Yazidis are an indigenous and oppressed minority in the region with their own unique culture. The Islamic State (ISIS) invasion of Sinjar, the homeland of the Yazidis in Iraq, in August 2014 finally brought this persecuted community to the attention of the world. Yazidis say they have been subjected to 72 genocidal massacres. The latest genocide, committed by ISIS in Iraq, is the 73rd.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/yazi ... ed-221983/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:12 pm

Yazidis in Iraq's Sinjar brace for possible Turkish attack

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said March 25 that Turkey had begun operations against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the Sinjar region in northern Iraq. “We said we would go into Sinjar. Now operations have begun there. The fight is internal and external,” Erdogan said before a crowd in Turkey's Trabzon province.

Two days prior to Erdogan's statement, PKK fighters began withdrawing from Sinjar in order to avoid the targeting of civilians in the area.

For Dezhwar, a young Yazidi fighter in the Sinjar area, the silence of the international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) regarding the all-out Turkish attack on the city of Afrin, home to a sizable Yazidi community, was a bitter reminder that in the game of realpolitik between states, minorities such as the Yazidis have no one to turn to.

Despite the Turkish president's threats, Iraq's Joint Operations Command said late March 25 that no foreign forces had crossed the border into Iraq and there were no reports of unusual military activity.

The news from Afrin is gloomy for many Yazidis in Sinjar who survived IS attacks in the summer of 2014. Reports say that their shrines are being burned in Afrin and that some Yazidi civilians who stayed behind in the area have been forced to convert to Islam by extremist elements of the Free Syrian Army backed and armed by the Turkish government.

Yazidi civilians in Sinjar fear that they are the next target of the mighty US-supplied F-16s of the Turkish state, as Erdogan threatens "another Operation Olive Branch” in Sinjar to “clear the region of terrorists.”

In August 2014, Dezhwar, who served in the 2nd Division of the Iraqi army for eight years, watched as IS caused havoc in Sinjar, killing and enslaving thousands of Yazidis and blowing up their shrines. While Iraqi and Kurdish forces abandoned the Yazidis, and Turkey was alleged to have allowed its territory to become a main artery for foreign fighters who arrived from across the world to reinforce IS in Raqqa and Mosul, Dezhwar watched as a group of Syrian Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) came to the rescue of Yazidi civilians. He was so impressed by the bravery and discipline of the YPG fighters that he and around three dozen other Yazidis stayed behind and, supported by the group, formed the nucleus for a local Yazidi militia that became known as the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS).

Four years later, the YBS has grown into a highly disciplined force of around 3,000 mainly Yazidi fighters, in addition to Shiite and Arab fighters who receive their salaries from the central government in Baghdad. For three years, the YBS was a critical ally of the international coalition against IS in the Sinjar area, killing more than 350 fighters and injuring close to 1,000 others. The group has been criticized in the past by human rights organizations for allowing children under the age of 18 to serve in its ranks.

The YBS does not hide its ideological affiliation with the PKK and is open about how it was assisted and trained in the early stages of the war by "military advisers" from the PKK and YPG as they fought IS in Sinjar. Dozens of posters of YPG, PKK and YBS fighters killed fighting IS are displayed from utility poles in Khanasoor town, a stronghold of the YBS. Posters of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned founder of the PKK, are ubiquitous in the northern mountainous region, with even vehicles of the traffic police plastered with Ocalan's image. "If we are the PKK, we would go and fight inside Turkey," Dezhwar, who is now the YBS spokesman, told Al-Monitor in Khanasoor on March 17. "We are on our soil protecting our Yazidi way of life and our history within the boundaries of Iraq."

"For me there is no difference between the Turkish army and [IS]," Hamid Ido told Al-Monitor in the center of Sinjar town, as members of various militias roamed around the street. "I will fight the Turkish army with whatever I have," he said.

Around 4,000 families have returned to the plains in the southern mountainous area that is still devastated by war and struggling with a lack of electricity, water and jobs. Iraq needs close to $100 billion to rebuild the areas destroyed during the 3½-year battle with the jihadis. "We do not want Turkey here," said Yaser Haji, who had returned to Sinjar from a camp for internally displaced persons in the Kurdistan Region. "Instead of another war, we want our hospitals and schools to be rebuilt again."

Sinjar has been under the control of the Iraqi army and the Popular Mobilization Units since mid-October, when Kurdish peshmerga withdrew as Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi bolstered his power by regaining control of the disputed territories. In the devastated city, the old IS slogans have been replaced by new Shiite militia slogans: "Ali's State remaining" is graffitied on a wall, referring to Prophet Muhammad's cousin revered in particular by Shiite Muslims and a play on the infamous IS slogan, "Islamic State remaining." The Kurdish flags painted on the walls had been crossed out and replaced by “Daesh,” an Arabic acronym for IS.

But as the various militias fight for control of the region, the YBS, which would be at the receiving end of a possible Turkish invasion, appears to be preparing for war. Fresh soil dug out from the heart of the mountains appears to be an indication that the YBS is fortifying its hideouts by digging deep and long tunnels in the sprawling mountains. The tunnels appear to have come into existence following last year's Turkish bombardment of Sinjar in which a teenager and five peshmerga fighters were killed, allegedly by mistake. The YBS had prior knowledge of the airstrike and protected itself by hiding in the mountains.

In the last few years, Turkey has repeatedly bombed the Kurdish mountainous region in northern Iraq, killing with impunity over two dozen civilians in pursuit of PKK militants.

If an attack by Turkey materializes, it would probably be the last nail in the coffin of the Yazidis in Sinjar, as thousands of its residents have migrated to Europe and the United States since 2014. In Khanasoor, where over 33,000 Yazidis lived alongside four Christian families, there are only 2,000 people left. "Three of my brothers now live in [the US state of ] Nebraska and three others live in Germany," said Delshad, who runs a cafe in the town. "I served with YBS for a few months but their lifestyle was very tough and I am not suited for that."

Dezhwar, who believes Baghdad would not allow a Turkish invasion, added, "We are not digging tunnels because of Turkey. We believe the Yazidis are still under threat and it is our duty to protect them. If we have posed a threat to Turkey, let them present their evidence but they should know that our duty is to defend ourselves and our people and the term 'surrender' does not exist in our vocabulary."

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origin ... y-pkk.html
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