Kurdish YPG forces release Yezidi family from ISIS detention in Raqqa

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Kurdish female fighters of the YPJ bidding farewell to fellow fighters killed during clashes with ISIS near Syria's Sere Kaniye. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

QAMISHLO – Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Friday freed a Yezidi family that has been held by that extremist group of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria’s northeastern Raqqa province.

The YPG leadership released a statement, obtained by ARA News, confirming the release of a Yezidi family from ISIS detention in Raqqa on Friday evening. 

“In a strategic operation, a YPG unit infiltrated into a detention centre in the ISIS-held Raqqa and released a number of prisoners, including a Yezidi family,” the Kurdish leadership said. 

The released family, including a mother and her three daughters, had been kidnapped by ISIS jihadis in Shingle/Sinjar district of northern Iraq and they had been moved to Syria’s Raqqa in early 2015.

“They have been moved to a safe location in Rojava [Syria’s Kurdish region],” it said, without giving further details. 

The Kurdish YPG stressed that the efforts will continue until releasing all Yezidi captives held by ISIS in Raqqa.

Raqqa is the de facto capital for the ISIS self-declared Caliphate.

In August 2014, ISIS radicals took over the Yezidi region of Shingle in northern Iraq, causing a mass displacement of nearly 400,000 people to Duhok and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tens of thousands of Yezidis remained trapped in Mount Sinjar, suffering mass killings, kidnappings and rape cases, according to local and military sources. Also, more than 3000 Yezidi girls have been taken by the radical group as sex slaves. 

On November 13, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, backed by an air cover from the US-led coalition forces, announced the liberation of the entire Yezidi district of Shingal in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh after fierce battles with ISIS extremists. The Kurdish forces have recently discovered more than five mass graves in the Yezidi region, where hundreds of Yezidi civilians have been summarily executed and buried by ISIS jihadis. Yet, thousands of Yezidi women remain in ISIS captivity after being sold as sex slaves across the group’s territory in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS Extremists burn 19 Yezidi girls to death in Mosul 

Extremist jihadis of the Islamic State (ISIS) on Thursday executed 19 Yezidi girls by burning them to death, activists and eyewitnesses reported.

The victims, who had been taken by ISIS jihadis as sex slaves, were placed in iron cages in central Mosul and burned to death in front of hundreds of people.

“They were punished for refusing to have sex with ISIS militants,” local media activist Abdullah al-Malla told ARA News. 

“The 19 girls were burned to death, while hundreds of people were watching. Nobody could do anything to save them from the brutal punishment,” an eyewitness told ARA News in Mosul.

International Calls 

Human Rights Watch called on ISIS to urgently release Yezidi women and girls abducted since 2014. “The longer they are held by ISIS, the more horrific life becomes for Yezidi women, bought and sold, brutally raped, their children torn from them,” said Skye Wheeler, women’s rights emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. 

According to officials of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria continue to hold about 1,800 abducted Yezidi women and girls. 

The United Nations has cited allegations, based on Yezidi officials’ estimates, that as many as 3,500 people remained in ISIS captivity as of October 2015. 

“Many of the abuses, including torture, sexual slavery, and arbitrary detention, would be war crimes if committed in the context of the armed conflict, or crimes against humanity if they were part of ISIS policy during a systematic or widespread attack on the civilian population,” the HRW said. “The abuses against Yezidi women and girls documented by Human Rights Watch, including the practice of abducting women and girls and forcibly converting them to Islam and/or forcibly marrying them to ISIS members, may be part of a genocide against Yezidis.” 

Reporting by: Dilshad Mihamad

Source: ARA News

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One thought on “Kurdish YPG forces release Yezidi family from ISIS detention in Raqqa”

  1. Eden Bell says:

    I would like to confirm the source on this news. May I kindly have the source please? Thank-you!

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