3000 Yezidi women held by ISIS


oung Kurdish women of the ethnic minority of Yazidis wear shirts reading "Stop the IS terrorists" and "Free Shingal" as they march through the streets of Bielefeld August 9, 2014. File photo

ARA News

Dohuk, Kurdistan Region – The directorate of Yezidi abductees affairs in the province of Dohuk, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, reported that they have rescued more than 900 people of the Yezidi minority from the grip of the radical group of Islamic State (IS/ISIS), who had been held by the group since it took control of the Shingal district in August, 2014.

Hussein al-Qaedi, director of abductees affairs, told local reporters that they stepped up their efforts to save those who have fallen in the hands of IS terrorists.

About 4,500 Yezidi civilians are held captives by the IS hardline group.

“We accelerated our efforts to save them by all possible means,” al-Qaedi said, pointing out that among the survivors were 304 women and 430 children.

He added that the process of saving hostages is being done confidentially, confirming that “large amounts of money were paid for their release”. 

The total number of Yezidis who escaped IS brutality in the Kurdistan region has reached 55,000 people, according to Hadi Dobani, director of the Yezidi affairs office in the province of Dohuk.

“During IS attacks, 1280 Yezidis were killed, 540 others were reported missing, while 280 people died on the Sinjar Mountain when they were trapped,” Dobani reported. 

Dobani explained that the process of releasing the abductees requires investigations and then negotiations through mediators.

In the meantime, the head of the Supreme Committee of international relations for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Dindar Zebari, said that the number of the Yezidi women held captives by IS militants has reached 3,000 women, most of them are teenagers. 

“We are highly concerned about the fate of those captives amid the mounting brutality of the IS terrorist group,” Zebari said. 

After being captured, the Yezidi women are subject to forced conversions, marriages, rape and assault, according to Human Rights Watch.

Noteworthy, in a handful of situations, a few Yezidi girls and women were able to escape detention with the help of locals in the IS-held areas. However, the Yezidi suffering continues as many captives are still held in detention except those who were offered temporary refuge by locals in northern Iraq before being able to flee to the Kurdistan Region or neighboring countries.


Reporting by: Eyaz Ciziri

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