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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 » Sun May 07, 2017 1:04 am

It's not over: Yazidis are still suffering genocide at hands of ISIS
Fr. Patrick Desbois, opinion contributor

Recently, the United Nations announced 36 Yazidi people in Mosul, Iraq were rescued from slavery under the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, ISIS or Daesh.

They are survivors of the 2014 genocide that followed a Nazi methodology labeling Yazidis "less-than-human," therefore justifying any and every despicable action taken. The U.N. estimates that up to 1,500 Yazidi women and girls remain in captivity. Escapees are currently receiving basic care including clothes, food and lodging, but there is a long road to recovery ahead of them.

Our anti-genocide organization, Yahad-In Unum

(“Together In One”), launched an initiative called Action Yazidis in 2015 to research and document these actions. The goal of this initiative has been to preserve the memory of the Yazidi people, de-radicalize Yazidi survivors and offer the world proof of one of the most heinous crimes against humanity in modern history.

To date, the organization has carried out six research field trips in Iraqi Kurdistan since 2015, where we began collecting testimony from survivors and escaped ISIS slaves. This work has provided in-depth documentation of the genocidal process (its various stages, its topography, etc.). And it has provided archival proof to help in the fight against the impunity of ISIS perpetrators. Furthermore, it provides a clear picture of the level of utter disregard ISIS militants hold for human life and dignity.

FBI employee married ISIS fighter she was asked to investigate https://t.co/ScPXWV43Eu pic.twitter.com/FgXucvlj11
— The Hill (@thehill) May 1, 2017


Our results have enabled us to analyze the fate of the Yazidis victims by category: men, boys, women, girls, babies and the elderly.

To date, after having conducted more than 100 semi-directive interviews of Yazidi victims of all ages, who escaped from ISIS slavery in Iraqi Kurdistan, the following conclusions can be drawn:

As soon as they are captured, the Yazidis must convert to Islam or they are executed. They are deprived of all their possessions (money, jewelry) as well as expelled from their houses. The ISIS promise is that of cunning and deceit: “You will return home if you convert to Islam.” This process, from its inception, is clearly carried out by a coalition of people explicitly belonging to ISIS and by local Arab clans, neighbors of the Yazidis.

The second stage – the separation of men, boys, virgin girls, married and elderly women is recurrent but its implementation can vary depending on where it takes place.

What follows is a breakdown of how the different categories of Yazidis prisoners are dealt with:

Men

Most men are quickly separated from the others and taken to places known by neighbors, where they are summarily shot. A beard or hair under the arms helps to separate men from young boys. The shootings of men are organized in such a way that other members of the Yazidi community cannot witness the acts of mass murder.

Young girls

Female doctors very often physically check the young girls’ virginity status because the girls are known to put on their mothers’ wedding rings or hold a baby in an attempt to escape selection. The young virgins are usually moved around and repeatedly resold: first as a group of women and eventually as individuals. The prettiest among them are often forced to become partners of leaders of ISIS. Others become sex slaves under the worst conditions.

Pentagon: Over 350 civilians killed in US strikes on ISIS https://t.co/qTNtDjYu1e pic.twitter.com/S40v4P81pu
— The Hill (@thehill) May 1, 2017


Babies

Their fate needs further investigation. Often, during their capture, babies still being breastfed are separated from their mothers. The infants are put on buses to unknown destinations. ISIS claims that the babies are given to Muslim families to be raised. The same treatment is reserved for the babies born to mothers in prison.

Young boys

Young boys are not only forced to convert to Islam but also forced into becoming fighters. Locked up in training camps, they seem to be subsequently divided into three types of commandos: attack commandos (aimed at villages), I.E.D. (improvised explosive devices) commandos and suicide bombers. Many children disappear. Among the bombers, many die by accident. The camps are kept secret.

Elderly women

Elderly or married women become servants, slaves for combatants or for an ISIS family. They also serve as human shields during bombings.

All, or almost all, of these people undergo frequent trips or deportations, which sometimes take them hundreds of kilometers away from their homes.

The Time To Act is Now

The above cases demonstrate the horrific crimes committed by ISIS against the Yazidis. Not only do they include kidnapping, sequestration, rape, and murder punishable by national laws, but they also involve the most serious crimes as defined by international laws.

Spending bill orders Trump to present strategy for fight against ISIS before receiving funding https://t.co/38fdMItI85 pic.twitter.com/h6K3fLhP6H
— The Hill (@thehill) May 1, 2017


This evidence of these crimes against humanity exists in abundance, yet the world turns a blind eye while such atrocities continue. Everyday, thousands of young girls are raped and traded as property, men are executed on the spot and young boys are forced into the ISIS military where they are forced to repeat the cycle of horrors.

There are currently barriers that most government officials throughout the world will point to. At this time, it is impossible to have these crimes tried in Iraq or Syria or in the International Criminal Court due to the fact that those two countries, Iraq and Syria, have not ratified the Treaty of Rome. However, there is still a path justice.

That path is to pursue the matter before national courts on the grounds of extraterritorial jurisdiction. The only way these crimes can be tried is by establishing the responsibility of alleged perpetrators as nationals of a sovereign nation state which has ratified the Treaty of Rome. Therefore it is crucial to begin this process now in order to ensure the survival of the Yazidi people and for leaders of the so-called “civilized world” to preserve their claim to that title.

Father Patrick Desbois is a Catholic priest and President of Yahad – In Unum, a global humanitarian organization he founded in 2004. He is a professor the the Center for Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University and the author of “The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews,” Winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and the recently released “The Fabric of Terrorists: Into the Secrets of Daesh”, based on his investigation of the Yezidi genocide in Iraq.


http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/i ... t-hands-of
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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 May 08, 2017 2:02 am

Haunting film on Yazidi refugee family’s trauma screened in Toronto

Three boys trek up a snow-covered hilltop, part of a range that forms a natural boundary between Iraq, Turkey and Syria. One of them gazes into the horizon and cries in anguish: “Kani Shingal?” That in Kurdish is Shingal, Where Are You?

That’s the title of the disturbing documentary by Greek director Angelos Rallis that screened at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto this week.

The town of Shingal was the cultural and religious centre for Yazidis, the minuscule minority that was subjected to an ethnic cleansing by marauding Islamic State terrorists. ISIS captured the city in 2014, thousands of Yazidi men were killed, an equal number of women raped and forced into sexual slavery.

This haunting film tracks a refugee family in a makeshift camp in Turkey, trying to make sense of the devastation even as the head of the Havind family tries to rescue his daughter Viyan from ISIS through bribes paid to a chain of intermediaries.

“The quest for their daughter Viyan, for me, it’s a metaphor for the quest for the Yazidi identity with their religious capital destroyed and half a million population displaced. It’s very important to redefine what’s left for the Yazidi people,” Rallis said during an interview.

The pacing of the film is almost languid, with dramatic tension offered by episodes where Viyan describes her trauma, and those of other women who have been kidnapped, over the phone to her father. She remains a captive as she speaks. The genocidal violence visited upon the Yazidis is off-camera but it bleeds into the lives of the survivors.

“I wanted to do a very personal and anthropological documentary, where I just film the main characters. I wanted to catch the human geography of the refugee camp,” Rallis said. The camera is the observer, taking in the psychological beating the Havind family has taken.

The main narrative arc, the attempt to bring Viyan back, came about by “accident” as the filmmakers developed a bond with the family which “was very welcoming from the very beginning”.

Shot between 2015 and 2016, the final filming also occurred at the newly liberated Shingal. As members of the family visit their hometown, they discover nothing remains but rubble. “There’s nothing left. Even if they are allowed to return, they cannot rebuild the area because they have lost everything,” Rallis said.

So, that question shouted out at the outset has a depressing answer: The Yazidis may have lost their roots forever.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-new ... T1iNN.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 10, 2017 4:42 am

How are Iraq's Yazidis faring amid Kurds' confrontations?
Author: Fehim Tastekin

The Islamic State (ISIS) genocidal invasion in 2014 of the Yazidi homeland in Sinjar, Iraq, and recent Turkish air attacks have deepened fissures in the Kurdish political map. Forces are playing two Kurdish segments against each other: the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a terrorist group, and the Turkey-friendly Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The Yazidis are caught in the middle. Ethnically, Yazidis are Kurds, but for centuries their religion has set them apart and made them targets for persecution.

After the 2003 collapse of Saddam Hussein's Baath Regime in Iraq, the Yazidis faced the choice of joining the administrative boundaries of Kurdistan or seeking an autonomous entity for themselves. The KRG, which deployed its peshmerga in the disputed area after the 2003 US occupation, sees Sinjar as part of its territory. But in 2014, when 7,000 KRG peshmerga forces withdrew from Sinjar instead of battling ISIS — leaving the Yazidis to suffer massacres at the hands of ISIS — the PKK’s popularity saw a meteoric rise.

While peshmerga forces abandoned the fight, the PKK’s armed wing, the People's Defense Forces (HPG), fought to evacuate the Yazidis to the Sinjar Mountains. The Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fought to open an evacuation corridor to save thousands of people from ISIS slaughter. Having lost its standing at Sinjar, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) of Massoud Barzani and his KRG could not react to the PKK’s creation of the Yazidis' Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) and the political and civil body, the Sinjar Constituent Assembly.

These developments became serious concerns for Turkey. Ankara felt that Sinjar was becoming a new Qandil, that a new access route was opening for Rojava — the area in northern Syria run by the Kurdish nationalist Democratic Union Party (PYD) — and that Iraq and Iran were encouraging a new force to challenge Turkey’s interests.

Turkey’s threats that it won’t allow Sinjar to become a second Qandil — the PKK's main headquarters in Iraq’s Qandil Mountains — have provided the KRG with potent cards to play against the PKK presence in the region. The KRG argues that unless the PKK leaves Sinjar, Turkey will continue its attacks and the Yazidis will pay the price. In its counterargument, the PKK says the ISIS threat has not passed; therefore, it cannot leave Sinjar.

The KDP’s dispatching of peshmerga forces in March from Syria to Sinjar to re-establish its presence only ratcheted up the KDP-PKK conflict. The KDP subsequently justified the Turkish air attacks by saying, “The main reason for these attacks is the PKK presence in the region. The PKK must leave soon.”

But many other groups in the Kurdistan parliament, such as the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Gorran movement, the Kurdistan Islamic Union, the Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) and the Kurdistan Islamic Movement (Buzutnewe), denounced Turkey, declaring, “We hold the Turkish army responsible for all the deaths, destruction and tension.”

The Yazidis are not immune to such squabbles. Al-Monitor has learned that the Yazidis resent being forced to become part of intra-Kurdish strife. Those who believe that such rifts are bound to harm the Yazidis, such as Sinjar Mayor Mehma Halil, favor a PKK withdrawal. “Turkey and the PKK will be held responsible by history because they compel the people of [Sinjar] to migrate again. The goal of the Turkish bombings was to force the evacuation of [Sinjar],” he said.

Those who favor the PKK’s withdrawal have another fear: Turkey’s offensives have been eroding the return of the Yazidis who had fled from ISIS in 2014. The Yazidis do admit their gratitude to the PKK, but say the ISIS threat is not over and they definitely need their own self-defense force.

After the 2014 massacres, about 3,000 Yazidis took up arms with the YBS; another 1,000 joined Haydar Sesho’s KDP-affiliated Sinjar Defense Units (HPS).

Ibrahim Osman lived in Sinjar for 10 years and wrote the book “Evina Merxaseki” on the Yazidi folk hero Dewrese Evdi. I asked him how Yazidi politics are affected by Barzani's peshmerga forces, the struggle with ISIS and Turkey’s bombardment on April 25.

“Yazidis, who are always abandoned, don’t trust anyone. After the ISIS massacres, Yazidis decided to determine their own destiny and set up self-defense forces,” he said.

Osman assessed Yazidi reaction to the Turkish airstrikes. “All Yazidis are furious. Forces affiliated with the PKK are not only at [Sinjar]. They are everywhere from Kirkuk to Xanekin. There must be something else behind attacking a few PKK people at [Sinjar]. Many Yazidis interpret it as a sequel to the unfinished ISIS plan to exterminate the Yazidis. A few PKK people at [Sinjar] are here for training and protection, and they don’t pose a threat to Turkey,” he said.

Osman also referred to Turkey’s constant warnings that Sinjar is on the verge of becoming a second Qandil: “[Sinjar] has no political, military or logistical features that would help set up a second Qandil. [Sinjar] has nothing in common with Qandil, which is based in the mountains of Iraq. [Sinjar] is like an island in the middle of the ocean with no contiguous territory. For the PKK to adopt such a strategic plan would be military suicide.”

Osman added, “The KDP-PKK conflict did not start at [Sinjar] and will not end there. That is an ideological, class conflict. Yazidis don’t want to be a party to their archaic, hegemonic clashes. Yazidis want the KDP and the PKK to refrain from using the Yazidis as a tool in their argument.”

He then summarized the sentiments of the Yazidis, who are not well-known outside their community: “Apart from a few sheikhs and tribal leaders, Yazidis in general do not trust the KDP and want to have their own defense forces. But Yazidi institutions feel the need to ally with a political force to be able to survive.

Yazidis are not pleased with the KDP’s despotic approach, Osman said, adding, “You have to understand that the KDP’s Sunni and religious affiliations frighten the Yazidis. Just think: Most peshmerga won’t eat the food cooked by Yazidis and animals [they] slaughter because they are not Muslims in their eyes.”

NOTE: Kurds who are Muslims are descended from Kurds who where threatened with death it they refused to comply - the Yazidis are MUCH BRAVER people and I have far more respect for them - their ancestors never gave up :ymapplause:

The KDP’s calls for the PKK to leave the region are supported by a small Yazidi minority with economic interests in KDP affiliation.

And finally, Turkey has to take note that the Yazidis are deeply suspicious of Turkey’s motivation in bombing Sinjar. They see it as a Turkish design to prevent the Yazidis from returning to their land.

Another assessment came from sociologist Azad Baris, who has been active in Yazidi civil initiatives. He said the KDP-PKK tension had already raised signs of possible foreign intervention. YBS units expecting such an attack left their urban bases and took cover in the mountains. “The [Sinjar] air attack was the continuation of Ankara’s bankrupt foreign policy," Baris said. "Erdogan had multiple goals with this attack, primarily to achieve national accord in Turkey while denying Kurds their gains."

Baris said he believes the PKK's flourishing presence disturbs Turkey and the KDP. That is why Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party and the KDP agreed on a joint enemy. “This problem will not be solved anytime soon, as parties won’t concede their positions and also because [achieving] unity of the Yazidis is a very long, tedious prospect,” Baris said.

Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... -land.html

We should be pushing for an international peacekeeping force to protect the Yazidis and their land
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 10, 2017 4:50 am

Three years on, Isis genocide against Yazidis continues
Lizzie Dearden

The true scale of the genocide inflicted on Yazidis by ISIS during its brutal sweep through Iraq may never be known as thousands remain in captivity, researchers have warned.

A new study published in weekly journal PLOS Medicine concluded that an estimated 9,900 members of the ethnic minority were killed or captured in a matter of days in August 2014.

Of that figure 3,100 were murdered, with almost half executed by gunshot, beheading or being burned alive, while the rest died from starvation, dehydration or injuries during the Isis siege on Mount Sinjar.

Researchers estimated that 6,800 other Yazidis were kidnapped in the brutal campaign, with over a third still missing at the time of the survey. :((

Lead author Dr Valeria Cetorelli warned that the toll may even be higher because of the reliance of survivors to report deaths and disappearances.

“Because the attack was so indiscriminate, in many cases entire families were captured together if they didn’t escape in time,” she told The Independent.

“It is possible that no one managed to escape, so there are no survivors and zero possibility of being included in our survey.

Remains of more than 20 Yazidis found in Iraq mass grave

“At least one household member needed to survive to report the killing and kidnappings of others.”

While adult men were most likely to have been executed by militants, almost all of the victims who died after fleeing up Mount Sinjar were children under the age of 15, the research found.

ISIS’s punishing siege, seeing tens of thousands trapped without food, water or shelter in 50C heat, sparked the first US airstrikes against the jihadi group in Iraq, alongside British aid drops.

The operation, and an effort by Kurdish forces on the ground, let Yazidis flee through a safe corridor through Syria to the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, where more than 300,000 remain while others stayed in Sinjar or moved onwards to Syria and Turkey.

The study, conducted by researchers in the US, UK, Israel and Iraqi Kurdistan, found that children have been disproportionately affected by the genocide.

As well as making up the vast majority of deaths on Mount Sinjar – constituting 93 per cent of deaths – they are also the least likely to have escaped Isis captivity.

Dr Cetorelli, who is also a research officer at LSE and a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said escapees documented torture, sex slavery, forced religious conversion and recruitment as child soldiers.

“We heard several accounts of girls being gifted or sold to ISIS fighters as sex slaves and the boys being forced into training camps,” she added.

“More than one third of the kidnapped are still missing and it wasn’t possible to determine whether they are still alive or not.

“This is really an ongoing genocide because thousands of people are still in captivity.”

Several ISIS propaganda videos have featured Yazidi child soldiers, while the terrorist group has also used magazines in attempts to justify the taking of thousands of women and girls as sex slaves.

Researchers said families who failed to escape were rounded up en masse and divided up as part of the “systematic” genocide that saw men and boys above the age of 12 separated and massacred if they refused to convert to Islam.

A woman who was 17 when ISIS overran her village told how her 16-year-old brother was killed and nine-year-old brother enlisted as a child soldier, before she was kidnapped as a sex slave and raped by nine militants.

Dalal is among those who eventually escaped but thousands of women and children remain in ISIS captivity almost three years after they were abducted, with some killing themselves.

Researchers, who questioned 1,300 households of displaced Yazidis living in Iraqi Kurdistan, said suffering continues despite Iraqi government forces driving Isis back out of the region.

“It’s almost three years since the attack and the people are still displaced,” Dr Cetorelli said.

“The Sinjar region has been taken back from ISIS but it has been almost completely destroyed so it will be not possible for them to go back for a long time.

“The situation gets worse and worse every day for those living in camps.”

The UN formally recognised ISIS’s campaign as genocide in June 2016, saying the situation was “ongoing”, but a lack of formal research on the death toll has hampered international action.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria found that after classifying Yazidis as “devil worshippers” because of their links to other religions and mysticism, ISIS “sought to erase” the population.

It said the group used killings, sexual slavery, enslavement, torture, inhuman treatment and forcible transfer to further its aim, as well as the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, the forced conversion of adults and kidnapping children to be brought up by Isis militants.

The UN said “there can be no impunity” for the crimes, urging the Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court or a tribunal, as well as protecting the long-persecuted Yazidi minority.

Dr Cetorelli urged the international community not merely to focus on the events of 2014, but to help the survivors and attempt to rescue remaining captives.

“Three years ago there was a lot of attention but it’s still ongoing and the international community must retain its attention,” she added.

“We hope that these estimates will support a formal genocide investigation to hold the perpetrators to account.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 26991.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 10, 2017 10:20 pm

Yazidis Starved by ISIS Told They Would Eat in Paradise after Suicide Attacks

Yazidi boys were starved and forced to fight over food by their Islamic State militant group (ISIS) captors who told them they could eat as much as they like in paradise after carrying out suicide attacks, it has been claimed.

The lesson was part a program of indoctrination inflicted on young Yazidi boys after ISIS overran the religious community’s towns and villages in northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, the Associated Press reported.

As the militant group enslaved their mothers and sisters and carried out what the U.N. has called a genocide in Iraq’s Sinjar province, hundreds of Yazidi boys as young as seven or eight-years-old were trained by ISIS to be fighters and suicide bombers.

U.S.-backed Kurdish forces drove ISIS out of the the Yazidi heartlands in November but Human Rights Watch estimate that a further 3,500 remain in captivity. ISIS carried out some of its worst atrocities on the Yazidi community, whose ancient religion they view as heretical.

The U.N. said in a 2016 report that ISIS had sought to “erase the Yazidis” through tens of thousands of killings, sexual slavery, torture and forced displacement.

One kidnap victim, Akram Rasho Khalaf, was only seven-years-old when he was separated from his family and taken to Mosul. During his capture was shot in the stomach and hand and had to undergo surgery to remove the shrapnel.

Eventually, in ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria, Raqqa, Khalaf was trained at a jihadi camp. He told the AP that most of the time he was too hungry to be scared.

He explained how militants would throw balls at the children’s heads and those that cried were beaten. Those who did not were told one day they would be suicide bombers.

"They were telling us, 'When you grow up, you will blow yourself up, God willing,"' he said.

Ahmed Ameen Koro, another Yazidi captor, said he still has nightmares.

The 17-year-old lives with his mother, sister and brother, the only surviving members of his family, in Esyan Camp in northern Iraq. Like thousands of Yazidis they are too afraid to return to the devastated areas they once called home.

"They chose and took the girls they liked," Ahmed said. "I remember the girls were crying, as well as the mothers. They were dragging these girls from the arms of their mothers."

"They were all very big bearded men."
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 11, 2017 10:41 am

Inside Lalish: The heart of the Yazidi faith

[size=1@0]The Yazidi faith has always been secretive, but after the Sinjar genocide in 2014, they're opening up. Rebecca Holland visits their holiest site in Kurdistan[/size]

It’s Easter weekend and I’m having a religious bank holiday like no other, en route to a small, ancient village in northern Iraq. After a couple of hours of driving through the mountains from Erbil (including an obligatory kebab stop), my boyfriend and I arrive in Lalish, a small village and temple complex in Shekhan Valley that’s home to the holiest temple of the Yazidi faith.

At the entrance to the village, marked by a small barrier with two security guards, I slip off my shoes and feel the cool, white stone under my feet. It’s tradition to enter the village – a complex of temples – barefoot. It feels odd, at first, to be walking around an entire town shoeless, but the stone streets are smooth and clean, and within minutes it feels completely natural.

Lalish and its temples are about 4,000 years old. Its main temple was built by ancient Sumerian and other early Mesopotamian civilisations. In 1162 the temple became the tomb for Sheikh Adi Ibn Musafir, considered by Yazidis to be a “peacock angel” – one of seven holy beings to whom God entrusted the world after creation. This temple complex is the holiest place on earth for Yazidis: they believe Lalish is where Noah’s Ark first hit dry land after the flood, and is therefore the birthplace of new civilisation. Partly because of this rebirth, they’re expected to make a pilgrimage to the site at least once in their lifetime to drink holy spring water.

The drive here from Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, was worth the trip in itself. While Erbil is industrial, just outside the city, velvety green hills roll along the highway and mountains rise like a wall on the horizon. Lalish, nestled into the mountains up a small road guarded by local militia, would be easy to miss. It feels hidden – which makes sense. The Yazidi religion is known to be secretive.

While the faith combines aspects of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, it predates them by about 1000 years. It also includes some elements of Zoroastrianism and some Sufism. Yazidis are ethnically Kurdish, living primarily in Ninevah, Iraq, but also in Turkey, Iran, Syria, Armenia, and Georgia, with some migration to Europe. Because so much of Yazidism relies on oral tradition, specifics can change depending on which religious leader you speak to.

The religion is so misunderstood that it’s often equated to devil worship, which has led to violent persecution. In 2014, ISIS insurgents captured Sinjar, a major town. Tens of thousands of Yazidis from Sinjar and nearby villages fled into the mountains, where many were trapped without food or water. Some were abducted or raped; 5,000 were killed. Many of those who fled sought refuge near Lalish.

Lalish today is a far cry from those horrific scenes. Walking up the main street, you’re surrounded by small houses and conical temples that rise just above the hills - the cone shapes are meant to represent rays of the sun shining down on the earth. While we aren’t allowed into all the sacred sites (there are many small shrines throughout the complex), visitors can enter the main tomb. Stepping into what feels like a domed marble cave, we find a tomb wrapped in satiny green fabric.

It’s a sunny day and there’s a distinct sense of cheer. Children’s laughter floats through the trees, families picnic on hilltops, and people stroll without urgency. Lalish is one of the most welcoming places I’ve ever visited. I’m told by people I encounter on the trip that this is in part because of an effort to be more open about the religion. The Yazidis hope to promote understanding and eliminate talk of devil worship.

We’re wandering along a grassy path above the town centre when a group of young girls approach us and ask for photos. We pose and smile while they take turns standing with us - we’re both very pale and I’m very blonde - then run away giggling. A few minutes later, a man runs up – he’s a fine arts teacher, and wants us to meet his students. We climb to a ledge where teenage girl sits in the shade of a tree with a giant chocolate cake and fizzy drinks.

While much of the world is celebrating Easter, Lalish is preparing to mark Red Wednesday, the Yazidi New Year. Red Wednesday – as well as the night before, called Carsama Sari Sali – celebrates the nature, fertility, and creation of the universe. This year’s celebration will be the largest since the genocide – although visitor numbers, as will soon be confirmed, won’t reach pre-ISIS levels.

The girls and their families are from Bashiqa, a village about 20 miles from Mosul, but had to flee in 2014. Now they live in Shekan, 10 miles from Lalish, but they hope to return home soon.

I’ll admit I’m surprised – this is not how I think of displaced people. In between gossiping and joking around, they take turns taking photos with us. Each one strides up, poses expertly, snaps a selfie and quickly uploads it to Snapchat. They wear Western clothes, have perfectly done hair and makeup, and would fit in easily in any international city. One girl gushes about her celebrity crush, Enrique Iglesias.

“I LOVE him,” she says, hands clasped over her heart, head tilted back. It would be easy to forget where we were – 31 miles from Mosul and 10 miles from ISIS-ransacked villages – if, in the next sentence, she didn’t excitedly tell us of her plans to return home this summer, once her town is safe again. The conversation is both eye-opening and surreal.

After at least 100 photos and some cake, we say our goodbyes and walk back to the car, but not before being offered tea by another man and taking time to marvel at more temples and soak up Lalish’s tranquility. Slipping our shoes back on, a security guard stops us. “Photo?”

Link to Article - Photos:

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/mid ... 26486.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 13, 2017 1:25 am

Shengal Administration: PKK should not leave Shengal

Shengal Administration said "PKK will not leave Shengal until concerns over Shengal end and a full defense of the city is ensured."

Shengal Administration made a statement to the press in Khanasor and shared its demands with the national and international public.

YJŞ (Shengal Women's Units) commander Melîs Emer Salih, YBŞ (Shengal Resistance Units) commander Seîd Hisên Seîd, PADÊ (Êzidî Freedom and Democracy Party)President Qehtan Elî Osman, Shengal Constituent Assembly President Xidir Salih, Êzidxane Asayish administrator Faris Herbo Xidir, TAJÊ (Free Êzidî Women's Movement) administrator Kurdê Elî Ezîz and Shengal Youth Assembly administrator Brahîm Emer Îdo attended the press briefing.

Below is the full text of the press release:

“Thousands of Êzidîs lost their lives and thousands more were kidnapped in the genocide in 2014. Êzidî people were therefore forced to leave their lands. Sacred places were destroyed, Êzidî lands were pillaged. The world silently watched this genocide perpetrated in the 21st century. We did not receive any aid from national or international powers.

As representatives of Mount Shengal Resistance, we declare our demands to the national and international public on behalf of the Shengal Administration Transition Commission. Below are our demands:

    1. We view ISIS’ entrance into Mosul province and Iraq as a conspiracy. We believe that this aimed the creation of a Sunni zone in the region.

    2. KDP has become a party of this conspiracy particularly in Êzidî territory because its forces left without a fight when ISIS came. The EU has documented this issue in its June 2016 report.

    3. Êzidî people were faced with ISIS gangs because of this retreat.

    4. On August 5, 2014 Peoples’ Defense Forces General Commander Murat Karayılan stated that their forces would help and protect the Êzidîs.

    5. No side made any declarations such as ‘We will not accept the PKK’ or ‘We reject the PKK’ back then, but the KDP that turned its back on Êzidîs and the Turkish army that has bombed Mount Shengal now say that the PKK should leave Shengal. These attacks aim to intimidate civilians and make them flee from Shengal.

    6. Barzani forces’ attack on Khanasor on March 3, 2017 aimed to finalize the August 3 massacre and seize the northern side of Mount Shengal.

    7. As Êzidî representatives, we have been fighting ISIS under the most challenging circumstances, regardless of hunger and thirst for three years now. Hundreds of us fell as martyrs as we neutralized thousands of ISIS members. Our forces liberated the larger part of Shengal. We will not allow anyone affiliated with Barzani that prioritize their own interests over the people’s interests to speak and portray themselves as representatives of the Êzidîs.

    8. Once again, we state that hundreds of thousands of our people of ours would have died if PKK guerillas had not come to the rescue of Êzidî people. PKK only acted for humanity in its defense of the Êzidî people because nobody else came to our help as other forces turned their back on us.

    9. We ask the US, Russia and the UN International Security Council to not take Barzani-Erdoğan’s discourse of ‘PKK should leave Shengal’ seriously. In order to demand that the PKK leaves Shengal, you must first organize and employ an international force that will protect the Êzidî people in Shengal because we no longer trust the peshmerga forces. ISIS gangs attacked us when those forces were in Shengal, and they did not resist nor protect us. We also demand that rights of the Êzidî people be secured and Shengal Autonomous Government become a province of the Iraqi Federal Government.

    10. As representatives of the Mount Shengal Resistance, we ask that you establish relations with us within the framework we highlighted above, and exchange ideas on these matters We are not bound to talks with other circles, and will not abide by the decisions made there. The resisting people should make the decisions.

    11. PKK could retreat from Shengal if an international force comes into play so that another massacre does not happen. Only then, we the Representatives of Resistance could tell the PKK ‘you made great sacrifices and fulfilled the duty of humanity, we thank you and ask you to leave.’

    12. We ask the Iraqi Government to not talk with the Kurdistan Regional Government officials on topics that relate to the Êzidîs. We also ask the Iraqi Government to make Barzani’s peshmergas retreat from Shengal because we no longer trust them. They turned their back on us on August 3, 2014 and massacred our children on March 3, 2017. Peshmerga forces are responsible for the defense of Kurdistan region. Êzidî region is not part of that territory. We trust that our people can defend their land if our defense forces YBŞ and YJŞ are supported.

    13- We ask the Iraqi Government to sign the Hague Convention and prosecute those responsible for the massacre against the Êzidî people. Morover, we demand that the 73rd massacre be recognized as genocide and relations with the Êzidî people be developed on this basis."
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue May 16, 2017 6:31 pm

President Barzani warns Hashd al-Shaabi of nearing Yezidi areas in Shingal

After the state-backed Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi started its campaigns to control villages around the Yezidi town of Shingal over the weekend, Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani opposed the group nearing Yezidi populated areas in a meeting with security and military officials of Shingal.

As soon as the Hashd al-Shaabi besieged the two Yezidi areas of Tal Qasab and Tal Banat, President of the Kurdistan Region and General Commander of the Peshmerga Armed Forces Barzani was informed of the Hashd move and therefore stressed in the meeting with the Shingal officials that “Hashd must not enter those [Yezidi] areas.”

A Peshmerga official who was an attendant of the Barzani meeting told Rudaw TV that the Peshmerga was aware of the plan in the first place. He accused the Hashd of changing their plans by attacking Yezidi populated areas and "breaching" an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad on the Shingal region which rejects Shiite presence in the region.

From the ISIS held Turkmen town of Tal Afar towards Qairawan in Shingal in northern Iraq, Hashd al-Shaabi has been fighting to clear ISIS out of the area for three days and until now it has captured nine Turkmen and Arab inhabited villages and besieged two Yezidi complexes.

“As soon as we realized they had changed their plan, we informed President Barzani and therefore he asked for an urgent meeting," said Sarbast Lazgin who is tasked with overseeing Peshmerga forces in Shingal.

Lazgin explained to Rudaw “before the attack started, an official with Hashd al-Shaabi informed us but he only talked about Qairawan and Baaj towns. We warned them not to enter Yezidi populated areas.”

Lazgin, who has been leading Peshmerga forces in Shingal since day one revealed that there is an existing agreement between Erbil and Baghdad which rejects military presence of the Hashd in Yezidi inhabited areas.

"After Shingal was liberated by the Peshmerga, some areas around it were left under ISIS control. We had coordination with the Iraqi government, awaiting them to control Baaj and Qairawan areas, then we would control the remaining areas.”

But he accused the Hashd of “breaching the agreement.”

Haji Jawdat, media officer to the Badr organization, an armed group within the Hashd al-Shaabi told Rudaw Friday that “there is full cooperation with the Peshmerga especially in areas which have close proximities with Peshmerga.”

The Hashd forces launched their operation to recapture areas west of Mosul in the early hours on Friday, as the Iraqi forces have been engaged in fierce fighting in western Mosul.

The main objective for the paramilitary force is Qairawan and Baa’j located west of Mosul and close to the Syrian border, the Hashd al-Shaabi media office reported senior commander Mahdi al-Muhandis as saying on Friday.

Accusing Iran of leading the Shiite offensive, Lazgin claimed Tehran has long been trying to open a corridor from northern Iraq into Syria.

Therefore, he noted, Iranian and Iraqi Shiites’ support for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) “falls within this context.”

In the wake of an ISIS brutal march into Shingal in August 2014 and a military offensive by the Peshmerga to drive the group out of the city in November 2015, the PKK has placed a military foothold in the region since.

He suggested that the US, Turkey and Saudi will oppose Hashd’s presence in the region if they make further advances.

“Iran has started the plan through the Hashd al-Shaabi and they are just 60 kilometers now from Syria’s border. But I do not believe Iran’s dream will become a reality because if the Hashd makes further advances, Turkey, Saudi and America,” will respond to it.

About Peshmerga’s own plan in the region, he explained whenever the Peshmerga were ordered by the superiors, “Peshmerga will control all of the Yezidi Kurdish areas which include 13 villages and complexes.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/15052017
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon May 22, 2017 8:32 pm

Yazidi activist weary after years of anti-ISIS campaigning

Nadia Murad managed to escape the Islamic State militants who enslaved her and other Yazidi women in Iraq. A comment betrays how deeply the scars from the ordeal run more than two years after she broke free.

Asked when she is happy, Murad doesn't wait for her interpreter to finish translating the question.

"Never," she swiftly says in English, her eyes brimming with tears.

The slight and soft-spoken activist is nonetheless outspoken in her quest to bring IS members to justice.

Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and a U.N. goodwill ambassador, has been the public face of the ongoing plight of Yazidi women and girls who were abducted, held in captivity and repeatedly raped after the Iraqi area of Sinjar fell to Islamic State militants in August 2014.

Since escaping three months into her own captivity, her story has drawn attention to the Yazidi, a religious that faces persecution and forced conversion to Islam. Helping to seek accountability for Islamic State group victims is human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

But the push for an internationally sponsored investigation of IS and its members for crimes against humanity so far has not produced tangible results, and Murad acknowledges she is considering passing the torch.

"As of December, it will be two years that I've been telling my story," she told The Associated Press Monday. "I will not be able to continue forever."

Murad is working on a memoir, "The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State," that is scheduled to be published on Oct. 31. She also plans to reduce her public speaking schedule.

Instead, Murad says other former female victims of IS are being recruited to help maintain the focus on the thousands of women still held captive by the group.

Among them is Murad's niece. Asked if she worries her activism could lead to repercussions for her relative, Murad says, "In terms of crimes, there is nothing worse IS can do" to the women they are holding than they've already done.

A school girl when she was kidnapped, she says she dreamed of opening a beauty shop before her abduction.

IS has killed more than 5,500 Yazidis since then and at least 3,000 are still being held. Nearly 20 members of her own family have been killed or captured; Murad has received threats of being recaptured and says her life, with a sister in a small German town, is on hold.

"Those people who are doing this to us are still there, and the ideology is still there," she says. "Once I see a solution to our tragedy, I will think about my personal life."

http://www.statesman.com/news/yazidi-ac ... xw7BicdtO/
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 24, 2017 6:57 pm

Yazidi woman held by Islamic State freed, militants killed in western Mosul

Federal Police have declared liberation of a 17-year old Yazidi woman who was held by Islamic State in western Mosul.

“The troops freed the Yazidi woman Jihan Sido Kheder, 17, from the IS grip,” Lt.Gen.Shaker Jawdat said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The liberation came within an operation in Hawi al-Kanisa region, in west of Mosul,” Jawdat added. “Terrorist leaders Abul Hassan al-Iraqi, in charge of military engineering, and Mohamed Mejbal abu Othman, military leader of western Mosul, were killed during the operation.”

Last week, Federal Police’s Rapid Response forces announced freeing two Yazidi girls from ISIS control in 17 Tamuz (July 17th) district.

ISIS abducted and executed hundreds of Yazidis after it took over Sinjar district, a Mosul region on the borders with Syria. News reports mentioned that the captives were distributed among the fighters in Iraq and Syria.

After Sinjar fell to IS in August 2014, thousands of Yazidi Kurds fled Sinjar to nearby mountain areas. In March, revealed data showed that 2,915 Yazidis, including nearly 1500 children, were rescued from ISIS captivity, while more than 3500, including nearly 1500 children, were still held by the extremist group. The ethno-religious minority of Yazidis came to the spotlight when Islamic State militants, taking over large parts of Iraq, victimized its members, massacred, enslaved and tortured thousands of the community members.

Iraqi commanders predict recapturing the remaining parts of the city this month.

http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/yazid ... ern-mosul/

I wonder how many INNOCENT YAZIDIS have been slaughtered by liberator's bombs X(
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed May 24, 2017 7:03 pm

"Most wanted" Yazidi urges others to help keep focus on her people's plight :ymapplause:

An Iraqi parliamentarian and Yazidi activist known as Islamic State's "most wanted woman" wants other Yazidis to step onto the global stage to keep the plight of her people in the spotlight.

Vian Dakhil hit world headlines in August 2014 when she broke down in tears in Iraq's parliament when she plead for help for the religious minority under attack by Islamic State militants in Sinjar, northern Iraq, home to about 400,000 Yazidis.

In just days about 3,100 Yazidis were killed and 6,800 were kidnapped to become sex slaves or fighters for Islamic State, according to a report this month by John Hopkins University and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The militants are still holding about 3,400 girls as sex slaves and 1,000 children, according to the United Nations, despite global condemnation for the campaign of rape and murder.

Since 2014 Dakhil, one of only two ethnic Yazidis in Iraq's 328-member parliament, has campaigned tirelessly to keep world attention on her people, becoming, alongside former Islamic State sex slave Nadia Murad, the face of the Yazidis globally.

But Dakhil said she needed help and urged other Yazidis to put themselves forward for Iraq's 2018 election.

"At the moment trying to keep us in the spotlight is falling largely on my shoulders but I can't be everywhere at the same time," Dakhil told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on the sidelines of the ninth annual Oslo Freedom Forum where her emotional speech received a standing ovation.

Dakhil was one of a list of speakers attending the three-day forum organised by the U.S.- based Human Rights Foundation that aims to promote and protect human rights globally.

"Nearly three years on people forget about us but the misery and tragedy is still there and just as real with 420,000 Yazidis living as refugees in Kurdistan in very miserable conditions and thousands of girls still in captivity and tortured."

POLTICAL ROLE

Dakhil, the first and only female Yazidi in parliament, said she had no political ambitions before 2010 but found herself thrust into politics after stepping in as a university teacher in Mosul to help Yazidis and Christians coming under attack.

She said at that time no one could have imagined what the Yazidis were to face at the hands of Islamic State militants who considered them devil worshippers and infidels.

"You'd never have thought in the 21st Century, in a world of technology, there would be people believing in death, kidnapping and torture like this," she said through an interpreter as she propped up one leg on a chair.

"Before 2014 most Yazidis did not feel the need to get politically active because they were living peacefully but now they want to be well represented in parliament."

Her campaigning has taken its toll - not just mentally.

In 2014 Dakhil was on a helicopter carrying aid supplies to the Sinjar region that crashed when a crowd of Yazidis tried to board as it landed. Dakhil survived with a broken leg, but the pilot and dozens of others were killed.

Dakhil said she hoped to run again for election next year to win a third term in office but no matter what the outcome she would continue her campaign to get funding and assistance.

She voiced concern that funds raised internationally were not reaching those in need in Yazidi refugee camps in Iraq and Syria and is determined to get the Yazidis' treatment declared officially as genocide and fully investigated.

The release of the girls still in captivity was also a priority with progress slow. Two days ago Dakhil received a call from someone who had found two Yazidi girls enslaved in Mosul.

"Our fight is not over. We aren't even half-way through what we need to do. Staying in government gives me more power to help my people," she said. (Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith, Editing by Astrid Zweynert @azweynert.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuter ... light.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu May 25, 2017 9:06 pm

Forces Fighting ISIS Turning on Each Other as Iran Opens Land Corridor to Syria

The plight of the Yazidis brought the United States back into the Iraq War when Obama moved to save them on Mount Sinjar. But three years on, they've got little hope of going home. X(

The bombed-out military base atop Mount Sinjar offered a clear if distant view of the battle unfolding on the plains below. Smoke was rising there. Shia militias were attacking fighters from the so-called Islamic State in villages that ISIS swept into almost three years ago, beginning an orgy of violence that still haunts the survivors.

The Shia militia on the Sinjar plains are the latest armed group to force its way into this remote region in northwest Iraq that has become the most contested area in the country. Strategically situated near the border with Syria, this heartland of the Iraq’s Yazidi minority is coveted by powerful factions backed by competing regional powers, including Turkey and Iran. And with ISIS on the verge of defeat, tensions are threatening to boil over into open conflict among several erstwhile allies among the forces that are actually on the ground.

The scene here on the mountain records the violent history of the recent past. In the early hours of April 25, Ankara’s warplanes bombed military bases of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long guerrilla war against the Turkish government. The Turkish airstrike brought that metastasizing war into this corner of Iraq.

You could see that one bomb had slammed into the ground next to a telecoms tower on the mountain top, sending oil drums and twisted metal flying. Uniforms were strewn amid the rubble. The guerillas had melted into the shrubland that covers the hillsides, but their flags still fluttered defiantly in the breeze.

Just a couple of hundred meters further along the plateau, however, there were different Kurdish flags. A base of the Peshmerga, as the Kurdish fighters of Iraq are known, was draped in the yellow pennants of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which dominates the autonomous region of northern Iraq.

The PKK and the KDP have rarely been on good terms, as the PKK has tried to use KDP territory elsewhere in Iraq as its strategic depth to fight the government in Turkey, and the KDP has tried to prevent that. Both probably would like to see, eventually, an independent Kurdish state in the Middle East, but their strategies are vastly different and their alliances as well. The PKK says officially that it is fighting for greater autonomy and “democratic confederalism,” that is, grassroots democracy. In any case, the two Kurdish groups have been at loggerheads in Sinjar ever since the ISIS onslaught of 2014.

As the regional war has evolved over the last three years, Tehran has developed an interest in using the PKK and the Shia militias of Iraq, known as the Hashed al Shaabi, to its advantage here. The Islamic Republic is keen to establish a land bridge between Iran and Syria, where Iranian money, weapons, troops, and proxy forces play a vital role propping up the Bashar al Assad regime. According to Kurdish officials, Sinjar is a key part of the emerging route that would allow Iran to reach its Syrian ally by land.

"The PKK has opened the door for many militias to come to Iraq and then go to Syria,” says Naser Pasha Khalaf, a senior official with the KDP in Sinjar.

The Iranian-backed militias are taking the initiative. Already they effectively control a corridor from the Iranian border skirting to the south of KDP controlled territory and west beyond Mosul to Tel Afar, an ISIS stronghold that the Hashed militia are besieging. After taking Tel Kassab and Tel Banat, two villages near Sinjar city, the Shia fighters can now link up with other client forces, completing the Iran-Syria corridor. And they are poised to expand that corridor by taking more land from ISIS as they fight their way toward the Syrian frontier.

Across the border, Kurdish territory in Syria continues the link between Iran and forces connected to Syrian President Assad. The PKK's Syrian political and military subsidiaries have held a truce with the Assad regime since the outbreak of the civil war. Their Kurdish enclave in Syria's northeast abuts regime territory, and is linked to Sinjar just across the border in Iraq.

A complicating factor in all this: the PKK’s Syrian franchise, known as the YPG, is recognized by the United States as the most effective fighting force available to go after the ISIS capital in Raqqa, Syria, even though on the ground beneath Mount Sinjar in Iraqi territory, a stone's t

hrow from the Syrian border, the same force is aiding and abetting the Assad regime's greatest regional ally.

But Iran's momentum in northern Iraq could be checked by Turkey. Ankara regards the PKK as a mortal enemy, and also has been a staunch opponent of Assad since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan has threatened intervention repeatedly because of the Shia militia involvement in the current Mosul offensive and the militias’ push on Tel Afar. After the air strikes on the PKK in Sinjar, speculation about a Turkish ground invasion grew intense.

As the pressure cooker of regional tension heats up, it is the Yazidis who stand to lose the most from the tug-o-war over what are their ancestral lands.

"The tension between the KDP and the PKK is one of the main reasons why Yazidis are not moving back to their homes. They expect a fight, and if they fight there will be a war," says Dakheel Ismail, who belongs to a Yazidi militia operating under the auspices of the KDP.

When ISIS stormed into Sinjar on August 3, 2014, the KDP Peshmerga stationed in the area retreated immediately, leaving the local Yazidi population at the mercy of the terror group. ISIS regards the Yazidis, who practice an ancient religion predating Islam and Christianity, as devil worshippers. As the insurgents swept through the villages surrounding Mount Sinjar, they shot the men, dumping the bodies into mass graves, and trucked off the women and children into slavery.

Thousands of Yazidis were killed or captured, but many more managed to reach the safety of Mount Sinjar, a craggy ridgeline that rises gently from the plains.

The ISIS offensive threatened Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdish regional government, and also presented the United States with a dramatic humanitarian crisis. In early August 2014, even as President Barack Obama vowed that “as commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into another war in Iraq,” his airstrikes against ISIS and his airdrops to the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar started just that process.

On the ground, meanwhile, it was in fact the PKK's Syrian spinoff, the YPG, that proved the most effective fighting force, breaking through the ISIS siege of Mount Sinjar and establishing a safe route evacuating Yazidis to Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria.

By the time ISIS was pushed back from the northern half of the Sinjar region in September that year, the PKK had established a firm foothold in the area, and the group did not relinquish it even after helping to expel the jihadists from Sinjar city in November 2015.

With the common enemy pushed out of the town that is nestled on the south side of the mountain, the two Kurdish factions, the PKK and KDP, increasingly took umbrage at each other’s presence.

"After the liberation of Sinjar the relationship got worse by the day," says Deshwar Fakher, a commander of the Yazidi militia recruited and trained by the PKK shortly after the 2014 fall of Sinjar. It has recruited among Yazidis who had lost faith in the Peshmerga, and who reject KDP hegemony over the area. At the same time, some prominent local leaders did throw their lot in with the KDP, bringing thousands of Yazidi fighters into the Peshmerga fold.

"The PKK wants to control Sinjar, and the KDP wants to control Sinjar. If they fight each other, the victims will be the Yazidis, because Yazidis have joined both parties," says Khalaf Haji Khalaf. Khalaf, a beekeeper and former liquor store owner, is one of the few inhabitants of Sinjar city to return to the heavily destroyed town.

Tensions spilled over into violence on March 3, when a firefight broke out between the PKK- allied militia and KDP Peshmerga in the village of Khanasor, reportedly resulting in casualties on both sides. In Sinjar city and on the mountain, the two parties cast wary glances at each other across the rubble, but refrained from hostilities while ISIS still controlled the countryside only a few kilometers to the south.

Still, the Iraqi Kurds’ regional government dithered over liberating the flatland of south Sinjar, much to the chagrin of Yazidis fighting alongside the Peshmerga who think it’s time to go home.

"We want to, but the Kurdish politicians won't let us,” said Ayub Murad, whose unit of local Yazidi fighters holds part of the front line straddling the south of the mountain. “They told us they are waiting for permission from the U.S. army."

Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis have yet to return to their homes, and most of the displaced languish in refugee camps in the Kurdish region. The ISIS blitz in 2014, and the heavy coalition air support for operations to push the jihadists back, has left many houses destroyed, and reduced much of the infrastructure to rubble. Basic services like water and electricity are missing. The continued presence of the insurgents in the area has dissuaded many traumatised Yazidis from returning.

"Our house was destroyed and Sinjar is still not secure. We want to move back but it is not safe to do so yet," says Barakat Thabo, who works at a medical station in Sinjar, but whose family lives in the Khanke camp near the Kurdish city of Dohuk.

The competing Kurdish factions blame each other for the continued absence of the local population.

The PKK-allied Yazidis (their acronym: YBS) accuse the KDP of deliberately undermining returnees in order to maintain control over the area.

"If the Yazidis returned from the camps, the YBS would grow and become more powerful than the Peshmerga," says Deshwar Fakher, the YBS commander.

Yazda, a charity fighting for Yazidi rights, last year claimed that the Iraqi Kurdish regional government was blocking construction equipment, medical supplies and even foodstuffs from entering the area in a possible attempt to discourage displaced people from returning. Trucks with building equipment and medical supplies can be seen passing the KRG checkpoint on the road into the Sinjar, however.

Sources within the KDP meanwhile accused the PKK of forcibly recruiting and brainwashing underage Yazidi boys and girls. The guerilla presence creates a security threat by attracting unwanted attention by Turkey, they add.

"Because of the PKK we have the Turkish airstrikes," says the KDP's Khalaf.

Used to living a secluded life in an obscure part of Iraq, the battered Yazidi community is fed up with this battle over its territory. While many of them have taken sides in the polarizing conflict, most say they prefer for Sinjar to become an autonomous region within Iraq.

On the grassy plateau of Mount Sinjar, a cluster of tents lines the road traversing the mountain. Several thousand Yazidis remained here after seeking refuge from ISIS in 2014, and one of them is Qasim Shewan, who led a group of Yazidis who took part in the desperate defense of the mountain.

A revered figure in the Yazidi community, Shewan has spurned the advances of the various factions vying for control of Sinjar. His independence allows him to speak freely, and he does not mince his words.

"Different parties are trying to gain influence in Sinjar, and the Yazidis are victims of this. The solution is for no Kurdish parties to be in Sinjar. We don't trust any party any more," he says.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... ources-say
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 27, 2017 1:47 am

Disputes over Iraq's Yazidi areas lead to fears of PMU-peshmerga clash

Amid fierce fighting pitting Iraqi forces against the Islamic State (ISIS) over Mosul, in Ninevah province, tensions have risen between the predominantly Shiite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and Kurdish peshmerga. On May 23, the Committee on Kurdish Areas Outside the Region, an official entity in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), called PMU activity in Sinjar suspicious, based on the force not coordinating with the peshmerga in the area, which is close to Iraqi Kurdistan and among the territory over which Baghdad and Erbil have had disputes about control.

The PMU on May 13 had launched an operation to liberate the district of Sinjar and surrounding villages from IS. On May 23, PMU fighters took Qayrawan, which is administratively part of Sinjar but not far from Iraqi Kurdistan. After the battle for Qayrawan, dozens of members of the Yazidi peshmerga, including military officers, deserted ranks to join the Baghdad-supported PMU.

Serbest Leskin, a peshmerga official in Sinjar, told Rudaw Net on May 14, “We told the PMU that they were not allowed to enter the Yazidi areas, but here they are today surrounding the Yazidi-affiliated Tal al-Qasab and Tal al-Banat. When we learned that they had changed their plans, we immediately informed President [Massoud] Barzani.” That same day, Barzani had instructed peshmerga leaders not to allow the PMU to enter Yazidi areas in Sinjar.

According to press statements by a Kurdish source reported on by Rudaw News, Baghdad and Erbil had agreed that the Iraqi army and the PMU would not enter Kurdish areas. Leskin stressed that the agreement bars the PMU from areas populated by Yazidis, whom the KRG argues are ethnically Kurdish. Regardless, the PMU took and continue to control Tal al-Qasab and Tal al-Banat and argues that it must be able to operate anywhere in Baghdad-controlled areas, which would include Qayrawan and other Yazidi areas outside Iraqi Kurdistan.

A statement by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in his weekly press conference on May 16 appeared to indicate that the sides had agreed not to engage in infighting and instead to focus on battling IS. Abadi announced, “We have agreed with the Kurdistan Regional Government on the peshmerga’s positions being limited to what they were before the start of the battle to liberate Ninevah, and our forces will carry out the operation. The text of that agreement still holds.”

Despite this agreement, the two sides still hold different points of view. According to Abadi's assertion, the peshmerga forces are supposed to return to areas along the border of KRG-administered Iraqi Kurdistan that they controlled before the battle to liberate Mosul began last October, while the rest of Nineveh province, including Yazidi areas, is to be liberated by Iraqi forces. Meanwhile, however, the KRG insists on the peshmerga liberating Kurdish areas in northern Iraq, including Yazidi ones.

On May 15, PMU spokesman Ahmed al-Asadi confirmed coordination between the PMU and peshmerga leaderships, but said the PMU does not respond to statements the media claims Barzani has made.

On May 14, the second day of the operation to liberate Qayrawan, west of Mosul, PMU leaders stressed that they would not allow “cutting off any part of Mosul,” noting that removing peshmerga from Mosul would be “easier than expelling IS.”

Al-Monitor tried, to no avail, to contact Asadi for comment on this PMU position. One PMU leader told Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity, “I urge our brothers in the peshmerga leadership to know their limits and respect that we are waging a fierce war against IS.”

Some claim the PMU in the area, consisting of militias backed by Iran, is heading toward Sinjar with the purpose of connecting Iraqi and Syrian territory and opening a pathway for Shiite fighters to safely cross over into Syria, hence the aversion to peshmerga involvement there. Leskin, in Rudaw Net, alleged this, asserting, “The support of the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] forces in Sinjar by Iran and Shiite fighters in Iraq all serve this purpose. Iran has already begun to implement this plan through the PMU, located 60 kilometers [37 miles] away from the border with Syria.”

Al-Monitor contacted Zardasht Shingali, the spokesman for the Civil Protection Units in Sinjar (YPS), who denied any association by the YPS with the PKK in Sinjar, and hence with Iran. “We are here to protect our people [Yazidis] in Sinjar,” Shingali said. “The fact that Iraqi forces have arrived at the Syrian border is their business. However, we will not accept any Iraqi forces between Sinjar and Syrian Kurdistan. If the PMU were to reach the borders through [the mixed area of] al-Baaj, again, it’s their business. We do not intervene.”

Observers ruled out the possibility of armed clashes erupting between the peshmerga and the PMU at this stage, especially after Faleh al-Fayyad, an Iraqi national security adviser and head of the PMU committee, visited Barzani May 15. At that time, both stressed continued coordination between the peshmerga and the Iraqi army.

Hussein Al-Alawi, a professor of national security at Al Nahrain University, told Al-Monitor, “After Fayyad’s visit, an understanding over military operations was reached. The confusion was overcome and the crisis was resolved. However, due to regional interference and the sensitivity of the situation in the region, some bickering through the media might occur, but there will not be a direct confrontation.”

Although signs indicate that the dispute over Sinjar has been resolved, regional disputes with historical baggage as well as regional interferences point to the difficulty that Erbil and Baghdad will reach mutually acceptable understandings in the future. This makes a military clash between the parties a possibility down the line.

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/origina ... injar.html
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 27, 2017 10:08 am

Support Shengal forces that are fighting the ISIS without any help from global forces

My name is Rubar Aziz. I am here in Shengal, or Sinjar, with YBŞ.

The people of Shengal would like to send their deepest condolences to the families and victims of the Manchester bombing.

We here are on the frontline. DAESH is approximately two kilometers away from us.

Things are not so good here.

We don't get coalition help.

We desperately need medical supplies and medics.

We have one doctor between two thousand five hundred soldiers.

The trouble here is very difficult. There is no western volunteer.

There are only four of us. Two Spainards; one is a doctor, the other is ex-soldier. He is approximately 2-3 km away from us. So, it is just myself and a French man here, in this point.

We need western volunteers to come and help us.

Medics, drivers, mortar men. All, anybody that can come an help would be helpful, really.

We need as many people as we can get here.

There are problems with Turkey who have airstroken this place quite a few times.

The coalition aircraft fly over here, so the Turkish aircraft. We cant shoot at them because we dont know who we're shooting at.

DAESH is approximately two km away. They have sent suicide bombers against us but YBŞ keeps them away. Two days ago, we had suicide bomber, one of the YBŞ fighters was injured, thankfully is not dead.

We need all the help we can get.
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat May 27, 2017 11:26 pm

Yazidi Woman Who Suffered ISIS Enslavement Lobbies Washington for Help

A Yazidi woman who suffered for 10 months as a sex slave under the Islamic State group (ISIS) came to Washington to push for help for the traumatized, displaced Yazidi community in northern Iraq and the hundreds of others who remain in ISIS bondage.

Shireen Jardo, 25, met with several U.S. congressmen and federal officials along with Iraqi aid groups and media.

"I told them to rescue our people and our land from ISIS," Jardo said in an interview with VOA on Friday. "I asked them: 'How much longer should we wait until we hear a word on our people who are still under ISIS?'" :((


At least 9,900 of Iraq's Yazidis were killed or kidnapped in an ISIS massacre in 2014, according to international organizations. While many Yazidis such as Jardo escaped, either through smuggling or ransom, rights organizations say about 2,500 Yazidis, mostly women and children, remain under IS captivity in Syria and Iraq. ISIS regards Yazidis as devil worshippers who have to convert to Islam or die.

Yazidi organizers say Jardo's plight is emblematic of the broader suffering Yazidis have endured.

"Her story is something everyone should hear," said Nemam Ghafouri, the founder of Joint Help for Kurdistan-U.S., an American-Kurdish organization that supports displaced Yazidis including Jardo. "She was sold 10 times, each time for a dollar."

When ISIS attacked Sinjar in August 2014, Jardo and 46 members of her family were taken as prisoners.

ISIS took them to its stronghold in Mosul.

"They separated me from my family and put me in a prison with 13 other young girls and two older women,"Jardo said.

Jardo was later taken with hundreds of women and girls to IS's defacto capital of Raqqa in Syria where militants started pricing them based on their appearances as a preparation to be sold.

"One day an ISIS member approached me and told me I looked attractive with my gold tooth," she said. "I pulled off that tooth right after he left and I was bleeding for hours afterwards.

As ISIS started taking young Yazidi girls to the marketplaces of Raqqa, Jardo says she used several ways to outsmart ISIS fighters.

"I pretended to be completely mute and incapable of moving," she said. "ISIS members did not believe me and started torturing me by using electric shocks and beating."

As she attempted to keep up the ruse, "a group of ISIS fighters started firing guns around me and threatened to kill me if I did not talk," Jardo said.

Ultimately, ISIS fighters were unable to put a high price on her because they believed that she was "a damaged good," Jardo said.

But ISIS did not give up finding ways they could profit from her, Jardo said.

ISIS militants took her to a hospital in Mosul where she received unwanted surgery.

"I then screamed, 'why do you want to kill me?'" she said, "They did not say a word and put me into sleep."

When Jardo woke up, she found her stomach riddled with stitches.

"We don't know why ISIS cut her stomach open," said Katrina Kraemer, president of Joint Help for Kurdistan-U.S., who helped her get medical tests in Iraqi Kurdistan. "We can't find that they removed any organs, so there is no explanation."

Jardo said she was put into a house with some 300 disabled or sick people. She was later taken by some Mosul residents to a hospital for treatment after developing an infection from the surgery. The residents who helped her contacted smugglers, who took her to a refugee camp in the Iraqi Kurdish region.

There she became a rights advocate for hundreds of displaced Yazidis.

"With her recommendation, aid organizations provided 11 washing machines to women in the camp," Ghafouri told VOA. "She also inspired Yazidi women to start a sisterhood program to share thoughts and ideas."

Three of Jardo's brothers are unaccounted for, she said.

"When Mosul was attacked, we were all thrilled thinking we will finally reunite with our families," she said. "But Mosul is almost liberated now and we are still waiting for them to return."

http://www.voanews.com/a/yazidi-woman-w ... 73669.html
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