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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 Nov 25, 2017 1:32 am

Report: Hundreds of Islamic State Sex Slaves Face Honor Killings if They Escape
by Edwin Mora

“We are very conservative. If our wife or sister was raped, we cannot talk about it,” Fawzi Akram, the former Iraqi member of parliament (MP) who now serves as a prominent aid and community leader, told Fox News.

He revealed that “640 of our girls—some younger than 12—are missing by ISIS.”

Last year, the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization, and the nonprofit In Defense of Christians unveiled a detailed store-like price list maintained by ISIS for selling sexual slaves as young as 1-year-old “in the name of Allah.”

Honor killings across the globe often involve Muslim males murdering or mutilating a female family member accused of bringing shame and dishonor to their families and Islam.

Akram reportedly indicated that Turkmen “families are so deeply ashamed that they often don’t want their abducted girls to come back for fear they were violated. If they do escape and return, they face being honor killed.”

The Iraqi Turkmen community, the third-largest ethnoreligious group in Iraq after Arabs and Kurds, identifies with either Shiite or Sunni Muslim traditions.

“Many girls won’t return,” Hasan Turan, an Iraqi lawmaker from the Turkmen Front Party, told Fox News. “Many girls were held as slaves. … I can only hope families accept them if they return. They are the victims.”

While the ISIS kidnapping of thousands of women and girls from Iraq’s ethnoreligious minority group known as Yazidis (or Yezidis) has been well-documented, the abduction of females from other ethnic minorities has been underreported by members of their community out of shame, reports Fox News.

According to the news outlet, an estimated 640 Turkmen girls and at least another 59 women and children from the Shabak minority group remain missing after ISIS swept them into sexual brutality.

About 2,900 Yazidi women and girls remain missing, Vian Dakhil, a female representative for Yazidis in the Iraqi Parliament, told Fox News, echoing testimony from Yazidi survivor and human rights activist Nadia Murad before a congressional panel in June 2016.

“The scale of the sexual violence extends far broader than many Iraqis previously documented,” notes Fox News. “The minority Shabak—who reside mostly in villages east of Mosul, their faith and rituals centered on Christian, Yazidi and Islamic adherences—are also suffering in silence.”

Hunien Kaddo, an Iraqi MP who represents the estimated 35,000-strong Shabak community, revealed that ISIS raped at least 28 Shabak women and subsequently poured gasoline on them in cages before setting them ablaze in Mosul.

As ISIS lost Mosul to the U.S.-led coalition and its allies late last year, the jihadist group abducted an additional “59 Shabak women and children” from the surrounding villages, revealed Kaddo.

“I have been visiting displaced and devastated families in recent weeks,” he told Fox News. “They’re daughters are missing. Sadly, there is a lot of shame.”

He pointed out that many Christian women and girls remain in captivity as ISIS sex slaves.

The Yazidis requested help in recovering their missing women and children, Fox News learned from northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Meanwhile, the other minority groups stayed silent.

The United Nations and the United States have determined that ISIS committed genocide against minority groups in Iraq and Syria, including Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, and Shabak.

http://www.breitbart.com/national-secur ... gs-escape/

There were many reports of returning Yazidi sex slaves being shunned and/or living in fear of honor killing by their own families - these poor girls/women deserve help and support that some families should turn against them is shocking

Do these poor girls need rescuing twice - one from ISIS and once from their families
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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 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:05 pm

Yazidi sex slave raped and tortured by ISIS finds love and marriage
By Sarah White For Mailonline

A former Yazidi sex slave who was beaten and gang-raped ‘in every way imaginable’ on a daily basis by ISIS terrorists during four months of hell has finally found happiness after getting engaged to a fellow refugee.

Fareeda Khalaf, who was 16 when she was kidnapped by Islamic State, feared she would never be able to live a normal life after being tainted by the sexual abuse she suffered in captivity.

She was so badly beaten that her skull was broken in three places, she temporarily lost her eyesight and was so desperate she tried to kill herself several times to escape her tormentors.

But five years on, Fareeda, now 21, has learned to trust again and found love with fellow Yazidi refugee Nazhan Elias, 23.

Image

‘I never thought I’d find happiness with someone, after what I’d been through,' she told MailOnline. 'Now I’m planning an engagement party and a wedding.’

The 16-year-old was kidnapped by Islamic State in 2014 and feared she would never be able to live a normal life after being tainted by her life in captivity

Crying as she recalled her horrific experience, she told MailOnline: ‘For 10 days I hid while men selected us for all kinds of sexual and physical violence, day and night'

Nazhan added: ‘I’m so proud of her. I’ll always do all I can for her so she can do whatever she wants with her life now.’

Fareeda - who has written a book called The Girls Who Beat ISIS - lived a simple teenage life going to school and dreaming of becoming a maths teacher in Kocho, northern Iraq.

That life fell apart in August 2014 when Islamic State fighters rounded up everyone in her village, 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.

All the women and girls were kept in a school. The men were taken away and Fareeda unwittingly heard her father being shot and killed alongside the other men.

The teenager then became one of 7,000 Yazidi women and girls forced into sexual slavery when the militia took over her community’s heartland in Sinjar, northern Iraq, and slaughtered 5,000 people.

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

Fareeda, her mother, two brothers and 150 girls aged eight to 30 were taken to Mosul, with other Yazidis. She was separated from her family when she was sent on to Raqqa in Syria.

Crying as she recalled her horrific experience and sexual abuse, she said: ‘They did everything imaginable that you wouldn’t want done to an animal. We were raped, humiliated and passed around daily.

'For 10 days I hid in Raqqa while men selected us for all kinds of sexual and physical violence, day and night.

Fareeda was so badly beaten that her skull was broken in three places, she temporarily lost her eyesight and was so desperate she regularly tried to kill herself to escape her tormentors

'They did everything imaginable that you wouldn’t want done to an animal,' she said. 'We were raped, humiliated and passed around daily.'

‘When I heard what they were about to do to me I found some glass and slashed my wrist. I thought I’d die but they saved me.

‘There were five or six men at a time, there was nothing I could do to stop them when they found me.

'They did everything you can imagine. They’d taunt us, sell us, give us as gifts and switch slaves.

‘I’ve tried to kill myself at least four times, once taking an overdose and another time hanging myself, and I tried to escape.'

Fareeda, who now lives in Germany, regularly defied IS and was punished as a result.

‘My father always told me I was strong, that I should believe I’m strong whatever. His words made my hold my head up high, so they beat me more because I challenged them and made them angry. I wouldn't become a Muslim.

‘I told them real men would fight other men. I’d also protect a nine-year-old girl from them, so they’d just beat me instead.’

Recalling the group attacks, she said: ‘I was taken away to a room where six - including the commander - beat me repeatedly and raped me.

Five years on, Fareeda, now 21, has learned to trust again and found love with Nazhan: ‘I never thought I’d find happiness with someone, after what I’d been through,' she told MailOnline. 'Now I’m planning an engagement party and a wedding'

Fareeda - who has written a book called The Girls Who Beat ISIS - lived a simple teenage life going to school and dreaming of becoming a maths teacher in Kocho, northern Iraq. Pictured before she was kidnapped by IS

Her life fell apart in August 2014 when Islamic State fighters rounded up everyone in her village, 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. Pictured as a young girl

‘It went on for such a long time. They broke my skull in three places, I lost the sight in one eye temporarily and I couldn’t walk afterwards for two months. Only surgery stopped the headaches but I still have pain sometimes.'

After four months in captivity, Fareeda and eight others were taken to a boarded-up house in another part of Syria to wait for ISIS men who threatened to pass them around again and kill them.

Fareeda eventually persuaded the other girls to follow her through an unlocked door over what the militants had claimed was mined ground.

They fled to Kurdistan, northern Iraq, where she was reunited with her brother who’d survived the mass shooting which had killed their father.

She discovered the 15-year-old had played dead in the same mass grave as his father, covered in a family friend’s blood.

Fareeda arrived back in Iraq on 17 December 2014, a date she describes as her ‘real birthday, the date I was free from ISIS.’

Six months later she fled to Germany - with her mother and brothers who had also escaped IS - and met her fiancé there a year ago.

Now 21, she campaigns globally for the Yazidi people, for justice in their name and to preserve the mass graves - so one day she can find the remains of her father.

The teenager then became among 7,000 Yazidi women and girls forced into sexual slavery when the militia took over her community’s heartland in Sinjar, northern Iraq, and slaughtered 5,000 people

'I campaign to free other Yazidis still held, to get justice, to get misplaced Yazidis a permanent home and to protect our mass graves,' she said.

Looking to her future, she said: ‘I didn’t think anyone would ever want me after all that I’d been through. But now I’ve found my fiancé I have his support to go on.’

3,000 Yazidi women and children remain in captivity

The UN has called the killings of thousands of Yazidis a genocide. Its Security Council is collecting evidence to use against Islamic State.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney represents another Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad, 24, who’s also written a book on her captivity, and is pushing for the Islamic group to be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court.

Amal Clooney describes Yazidis as 'genocide victims' of ISIS

Link to Article - Photos:

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

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:12 pm

Instability, political disputes hamper Yezidi aid efforts

The political and security situation on the ground is hampering efforts to rebuild Yezidi communities in the Shingal area, causing aid agencies to withdraw from the area.

Most of the NGOs that were assisting Yezidi communities in Shingal and Nineveh have left. “They have withdrawn due to instabilities and current political turmoil,” Murad Ismael, executive director of Yezidi advocacy group Yazda, told Rudaw.

Iraqi forces took control of Yezidi areas in Shingal and northern Nineveh province, near Bashiqa, in October as part of military advances throughout the disputed areas.

A ceasefire has held for the past month and the Kurdish and Iraqi forces have held security talks, but tensions remain as no political talks have been held to resolve the underlying disputes between Erbil and Baghdad that arose after Kurdistan’s independence vote.

A Yezidi leader accused Shiite militias of looting homes in Shingal.

With the departure of international charities, Yazda is hoping their recent registration in Baghdad will ensure their own vital work can continue, unimpeded.

The group announced on Tuesday that it completed official registration with Iraqi authorities, receiving certification from Baghdad’s NGO department.

Ismael explained that they began the registration process before Iraqi forces took control of the Shingal area. “This was not sparked by recent developments, however, these recent changes made acquiring an authorization from the central government for our work in Sinjar and Nineveh Plains more pressing,” he said.

Yazda is a registered organization in the USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Australia, and in the Kurdistan Region.

In addition to its global advocacy efforts for Yezidis – the organization works closely with UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad – it has many ongoing projects in Shingal: a mobile health clinic, small business and development projects, and education efforts.

With the area now under the control of the central government, authorization with Baghdad will allow Yazda to continue to access Shingal and Nineveh areas, Ismael explained.

“Continuation of these projects is crucial” at this time, said Ismael, especially because “most of the international and local NGOs have left these areas.”

Some 350,000 people were displaced from the Shingal area when ISIS militants overran northern Iraq and committed genocide against the Yezidi community, according to KRG figures. Ismael said that between 80,000 and 90,000 have returned to Shingal and some 40,000 have returned to Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul. They are in need of essential services like health care, water, electricity, and education.

Tens of thousands have also emigrated abroad.

“The Yazidi community remains vastly displaced and a long-term solution should be provided so that people can someday return to their homeland and live with dignity,” said Ismael.

He also called on Kurdish and Iraqi authorities to re-open roads to allow travel between Duhok, where most of the Yezidi IDPs are living, and their communities in Shingal and Bashiqa.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/291120178
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:58 pm

50 percent of Yezidis abducted by ISIS still remain under captivity

Nearly half of Yezidis abducted by ISIS in August 2014 from Shingal and its surrounding areas are still being held captive or their fates remain unknown, according to the latest data released by the Kurdish ministry of religious affairs.

From August 3, 2014 until December 1, 2017, of 6,417 Yezidis kidnapped by ISIS, only 3,207 of them have been rescued or have escaped, Khairi Bozani, General Manager of Yezidis Affairs in the KRG’s Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs told Rudaw, explaining that 3,210 are still under the group’s captivity, of which 1,377 are women, 335 men, 904 female children and 831 male children.

According to the latest figures, an estimated 1,293 Yezidis have been killed since August 3, 2014, the first day of ISIS’s brutal attacks on the Shingal region.

The number of children who lost a parent is 2,745, of which 1,759 have lost their fathers, 407 lost mothers and 389 lost both parents.

Some 47 mass graves containing the bodies of Yezidis were discovered and 68 religious shrines were blown up.

An investigation into mass graves conducted by The Associated Press and announced in August 2016 concluded that between 5,200 and 15,000 people are buried in 72 mass graves in territory the militants formerly controlled.

Last month, Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council announced it would open a “special judicial body to investigate the terrorist crimes committed against Yezidis.”

The totality of the atrocities committed against Yezidis by ISIS is not yet completely quantifiable. Many mass graves in and near Shingal have yet to be exhumed, however, Kurdish authorities in Duhok use satellite imagery to identify many believed sites.

As many as 100,000 Yezidis have migrated abroad since August 2014, according to the figure.

After the Shingal incidents, the KRG opened an office tasked with rescuing Yezidis and allocated the required budget in this regard.

Shingal fell to ISIS in August 2014 before it was liberated by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in November 2015.

Recently liberated areas of Shingal are now divided, some of them patrolled by Kurdish forces and others by Shiite Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary units.

The town also saw massive destruction at the hands of the militants.

Nadia Murad, a former ISIS captive and the UN’s new Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking has become a voice and representative of Yezidi victims around the world.

Murad is a Nobel Peace Prize candidate and was listed by TIME Magazine as one of 100 most influential people of 2016.

In August 2014 she was taken into ISIS captivity where she was beaten, sold and raped repeatedly before she managed to make her escape and speak out against their crimes.

Around 200,000 or about half of the Yezidi population in Iraq fled into the Kurdistan Region or Syria in 2014. Many still remain in camps in the Duhok province.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/021220177
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:03 pm

Yezidi leader claims increased PKK movements in Shingal, vows to stay in region

A high ranking Yezidi official in Shingal warned of increased movements by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) affiliated groups and reiterated their forces will not withdraw in order to protect locals, though their privileges by the Kurdistan Peshmerga Ministry in the wake of the October 16 events were revoked.

“We will stay in Shingal and not withdraw. Because if we leave Shingal, the people will become very desperate, leading to more and bigger problems for the people of Shingal,” Haider Shasho, head of the Ezidkhan Protection Units, told Rudaw.

The Ezidkhan force did not heed an official order from the Peshmerga Ministry to retreat from Shingal and station their forces in another location following the October 16 events which saw Kirkuk and later Khanaqin, Makhmour and Shingal fall to the Iraqi army and Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi, according to Peshmerga Ministry Chief of Staff Jabar Yawar.

The Peshmerg Ministry, therefore, cut their salaries and other privileges, he added.

Shasho added their issue with the Peshmerga Ministry was not resolved yet.

He warned of increasing military movements by the PKK affiliated groups in absence of the KRG armed forces.

“It has been 10 days now since the PKK increased their movements in Shingal,” Shasho said, adding the PKK forces were enjoying “good relations with the Hashd al-Shaabi.”

Some 1,000 fighters of the Ezidkhan force were officially put under the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga Ministry in early March 2017.

When ISIS attacked Shingal in August 2014, Shasho, former member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) fought the group near Sheikh Sharafadeen shrine on Mount Shingal, encouraging many to stand by him and fight.

Later on he formed the Ezidkhan force consisting of nearly 5000 men.

Shasho had gotten into trouble with Kurdish authorities in Erbil in the beginning for having ties with Baghdad, an issue that was solved after his force was incorporated into the Peshmerga forces.

He was also briefly arrested in 2016 on charges of receiving salaries from Baghdad.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/021220174
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:17 pm

Two more Yezidi mass graves found ‘with bodies of 40 children’

Two mass graves containing the bodies of approximately 140 Yezidis killed by ISIS has been found in the Shingal region.

“A mass grave with the bodies of 20 women and about 40 children was discovered in the village of Kabusi, south of Sinjar,” said a member of the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary group who found the graves as reported by AFP on Sunday.

Elsewhere, “in the Jazira residential complex, also south of Sinjar, 80 other bodies, mostly Yezidis, were discovered,” they added.

Another mass grave containing 73 Yezidis was also recently found in the Rambussi area near the town of Qahtaniyyah on November 22.

The KRG reported that 47 mass graves containing the bodies of Yezidis had been discovered as of Saturday.

Many mass graves in and near Shingal have yet to be exhumed, however, Kurdish authorities in Duhok use satellite imagery to identify many believed sites.

When ISIS militants brutally marched into Shingal and its surroundings in August 2014, they arrested thousands of Yezidis. Some of them were collectively killed in the region, other girls and women were taken and later sold as sex slaves by ISIS members.

According to the latest figures, an estimated 1,293 Yezidis have been killed since August 3, 2014, the first day of ISIS’s brutal attacks on the Shingal region.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/031220174
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:15 am

Peshmerga ministry dissolves two Yezidi units, cuts salaries

The Kurdistan Region has dissolved two Peshmerga units that were tasked to protect areas in and around the Yezidi town of Shingal following the deployment of Iraqi forces to these places, officials told Rudaw.

The two affected units are Ezidkhan Protection Units and Shingal Command who jointly had more than 13,000 Peshmerga fighters prior to the withdrawal of the Peshmerga from the disputed areas in mid-October.

The Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi has its own Yezidi force and has been in control of Shingal and most other Yezidi areas since then.

A Yezidi Peshmerga commander, who asked not to be named, told Rudaw that a number of their commanders decided not to confront the Hashd al-Shaabi forces when they advanced on Shingal. He said those commanders argued that the Hashd fighters are also Yezidi and they did not want a Yezidi-Yezidi fight to take place.

Shingal Command said in a statement on October 17 that they struck a deal with Yezidi elements of the Hashd that stipulated they can stay in Shingal.

It added that they reached an agreement with the Yezidi members of the Hashd al-Shaabi to prevent bloodshed.

The Peshmerga Ministry asked its forces to retreat. Only 500 did so, however. The rest remained, the Peshmerga commander said.

He added that former Kurdistan Region president Masoud Barzani, who had been commander-in-chief of the armed forces, stated days after the withdrawal that the Shingal Command had been dissolved.

The Shingal Command was formed on an order from Masoud Barzani after the liberation of Yezidi areas in Shingal in late 2015.

Sheikh Saeed Sileman, who was in charge of the financial department of the command but is now in Germany, stated on his Facebook page that there were 8,250 Yezidi Peshmerga on their payroll before the October 16 events, costing the ministry more than $2 million a month. Each fighter received $300 monthly.

He said the Peshmerga withdrew from many of the disputed areas and Shingal was not an exception. He argued that the Peshmerga ministry should continue to pay their salaries.

Haidar Shasho, another Yezidi commander whose Ezidkhan Protection Force was incorporated into the Peshmerga ministry earlier this year, told Rudaw that his forces who are still stationed in Yezidi areas, have had their salaries cut by the ministry. He said they cannot withdraw because that would create a security vacuum that would endanger local populations.

Peshmerga spokesperson Halgurd Hikmat confirmed that the Shingal Command had been dissolved.

He said the Peshmerga had an order to withdraw from Shingal in mid-October, but Haider Shasho and Qasem Shasho decided to stay. He said the two commanders made their decision independent of the Peshmerga ministry and "it is now up to them to take responsibility for their decision.”

With regard to the Shingal Command, Hikmat said those who still take orders from his ministry will be absorbed into other units and will receive their salaries.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/051220174
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:28 am

ALWAYS IT IS THE YAZIDIS WHO SUFFER

1) A concerted effort must be made to rescue all the remaining Yazidi captives

2) The UN should secure the Yazidi's homelands and protect them from any non-Yazidi invasion/infiltration

3) Yazidi homes, villages and business must be rebuilt

I am fed up with all the other groups/countries complaining about how they have suffered

NO OTHER GROUP IS SUFFERING THE WAY THE YAZIDIS SUFFER
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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:07 pm

Yazidis caught in 'political football' between Baghdad, Iraqi Kurds
Raya Jalabi

Since Iraqi forces pushed the Kurds out of the Yazidis’ mountainous heartland of Sinjar in northern Iraq in October, residents are wondering what could happen to them next.

Food and money are in short supply since aid organizations stopped delivery after Iraq’s advance. Buildings collapsed in the fighting and of those still standing, many are marked with bullets and littered with IEDs. Water and electricity barely work.

The Yazidis, whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions, have long been viewed with suspicion and repeatedly persecuted by other groups in Iraq.

In 2014, more than 3,000 were killed by Islamic State militants in a campaign described by the United Nations as genocidal.

Now the land they have lived on for centuries is caught up in a tug of war between Baghdad and Iraq’s Kurds, who had controlled it since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“We’re trapped in this game of political football, between Iraq and the Kurds,” said a Yazidi resident of Sinjar, Kamal Ali. “But neither of them cares about our future.”

The militias have hoisted Iraq’s tricolor flag over government buildings and any remaining Kurdish flags have been scrawled over with the words “Iraq” and “Allahu Akbar”, the blazing sun at its center scribbled over in black marker.

Sinjar is politically important because it’s in the disputed territories, ethnically mixed areas across northern Iraq, long the subject of a constitutional dispute between Baghdad and the Kurds, who both claim them.

Sinjar fell under the Kurds’ control, despite lying outside Iraqi Kurdistan’s recognized borders.

Baghdad did little to challenge the arrangement until its October offensive, launched to punish the Kurds for their Sept. 25 independence referendum. Iraqi forces have seized the disputed areas the Kurds had expanded into including Sinjar.

The referendum reignited long-simmering tensions over geographic dominance in the oil-rich north, between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), who fought side by side to defeat Islamic State.

The Yazidis are divided about what should happen now.

Some are glad the Kurds have gone and see an opportunity for increased autonomy now that they are under federal control following the offensive by Iraq’s security forces last October. Kurdish forces handed over Sinjar without a fight to the Lalesh Brigades, a Yazidi militia backed by Baghdad’s Shiite paramilitary forces (PMF).

Most Yazidis speak a Kurdish dialect, but many don’t see themselves as ethnically Kurdish.

“We’re happy the Kurds have left,” said Abu Sardar, a 47-year-old Yazidi man. “We’re Yazidis we’re not Kurds, we do not want to be part of Kurdistan.”

Like others, Abu Sardar complained that the Kurds forced him to vote in the Kurdish referendum, accusations the KRG denies.

He returned two months ago to the ruins of his home in the Sinuni district of Sinjar and expressed bitter disappointment that little had changed since he left in 2014: hospitals and schools remain shuttered while the city is still mostly rubble.

He hopes that Baghdad and its militias will rebuild Sinjar. Others lament the Kurds’ departure.

The KRG and allied Yazidi groups hold former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki responsible for the campaign by Islamic State. They say his troops’ desertion of Mosul allowed militants to capture billions of dollars in weapons later used to attack the minority.

Yazidi commander Qassem Shesho says Iraq’s government is too sectarian and dislikes the Yazidis as much as Islamic State.

Like many others, he blames the Kurds for the attack by Islamic State. “But they’re all we’ve got,” he said.

Shesho is allied to Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party, even though the Kurds cut his fighters’ salaries after the Lalesh Brigades took over Sinjar.

‘CITY OF GHOSTS’

Some days, residents say, there are only bones in Sinjar. Nearly 50 mass graves have been uncovered outside the town since 2014.

“Sinjar is a city of ghosts,” said the Lalesh Brigades’ leader Ali Serhan Eissa, also known as Khal Ali.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled the militant onslaught and headed for Mount Sinjar. Of those who didn’t reach the mountain, about 3,100 were killed – with more than half shot, beheaded, burned alive and disposed of in mass graves.

Others were sold into sexual slavery or forced to fight, according to a report by the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

Some are still on the mountain, about to spend a third freezing winter in tents.

Before the attack, Sinjar was home to about 400,000 people – mainly Yazidis and Arab Sunnis. Only 15 percent of Yazidis have returned home, according to humanitarian estimates.

Most Yazidis remain in IDP camps in the Kurdistan region, along with most of the area’s displace Sunnis. Aid workers worry the camps will be closed if tensions between Baghdad and the Kurds flare up.

The presence of fighters from Turkey’s separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) further complicates the picture. Many Yazidis credit them with opening up a land route to allow those stranded on Mount Sinjar to escape the militants in 2014.

The PKK entrenched itself in the community, even creating a local unit, the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) which controls multiple checkpoints around Sinjar.

Turkey and neighboring Iran are closely watching the power shift in Sinjar.

Tehran wants to secure this north-western region of Iraq as it sits on the border with Syria, while Turkey wants the region free of the outlawed PKK.

Reporting by Raya Jalabi; Editing by Maher Chmaytelli and Anna Willard
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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