Displaced Yezidi civilians head to Mount Sinjar after ISIS militants took over Shingal areas in northwestern Iraq, August 2014. File photo
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Dohuk, Kurdistan Region – Iraqi Kurdistan took in thousands of Yezidis who escaped their areas in Shingal on Mount Sinjar after militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIL) stormed the region months ago. In the town of Shariya of Dohuk province in the Kurdistan Region, the authorities have established a refugee camp that currently accommodates more than a thousand Yezidi families.
Located about 80 km south of the city of Dohuk, camp Shariya is now home for many Yezidis who enjoy security away from the brutal practices of the Islamic State.
Speaking to ARA News, a displaced Yezidi in the camp said (on the condition of anonymity) that what happened in Shingal “will remain in the bitter memory of the Yezidi community”.
“It was a tragedy and a disaster that cannot be described. The extremists held entire families captives as well as seizing the private property of the Yezidis. Thousands of our women have been taken as sex-slaves by those barbarians. How can we ever feel safe again in Iraq.” he said.
“Those terrorists killed many men and raped thousands of women from the Yezidi minority.”
Another resident of the camp said that they’re being provided with basic services and supplies.
“The Kurdish government is doing its best, but we cannot deny our need for more support,” Sheila Hesso, a Yezidi woman who lost her family in Shingal, told ARA News.
“We appeal to all the organizations concerned with human rights to provide assistance to our people,” she said.
“We will not be able to return to our villages and cities if there is no international protection,” she added.
Inas Jamil, a displaced Yezidi woman who is currently based in camp Shariya along with her two sons, expressed her gratitude to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for their support.
“The KRG has opened the camp to assist us after our terrific experience of displacement from Shingal,” Jamil told ARA News.
“We miraculously escaped the monsters of The Islamic State who wanted to ravage our flesh. We endured tough days in the mountains before the Peshmerga lifted the siege imposed by the terrorists on our areas.”
The Islamic State group launched in August 2014, a massive offensive on the Shingal area in northwestern Iraq, which resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands civilians from the Yezidi community, and the captivity of thousands of women to be sold in the slave markets in the areas under the group’s control. Mass executions were conducted by the group against Yezidi men, while dozens were obliged to convert to Islam and pledge allegiance to the radical group in order to survive.
Reporting by: Diyar Haji
Source: ARA News