Displaced Yezidi civilians who escaped ISIS atrocities in Shingal towards Mount Sinjar. Photo: ARA News
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QAMISHLO – More than 100 Yezidi families returned to their villages in Shingal (Sinjar) district in northern Iraq, after the liberation of the area from militants of the Islamic State (ISIS), locals confirmed on Friday.
This comes one month after the Kurdish Peshmerga forces expelled ISIS extremists from the Yezidi region.
The return of the displaced Yezidi families followed intensive operations by the Peshmerga to dismantle land-mines and explosive devices left by ISIS militant fighters before their withdrawal from Shingal in November.
“Our community has suffer a lot over more than a year of Daesh invasion into our region,” one of the returnees told ARA News, using another acronym for ISIS. “The Yezidi people have been raped, executed and forcibly displaced at the hands of the terror group.”
“Despite all the miseries we have suffered over more than a year, today we celebrate victory against those barbaric terrorists,” he said.
Speaking to ARA News in Shingal, the officer in the Ministry of Peshmerga, Major Saeed Bakri, said that the Peshmerga forces have worked intensively to dismantle all explosive devices and land-mines left by ISIS “in order to guarantee the safety of the returning civilians”.
“Specialized teams have cleansed the entire Shingal area from explosives. The return of those displaced families reflect our victory over terrorism,” said Bakri, adding: “Life is gradually returning to Shingal.”
The source reported a mass destruction in the infrastructure of Shingal subsequent to the battles between the Peshmerga and ISIS.
“The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is now preparing a project to rebuild Shingal,” he said. “We hope all the displaced families will soon be able to return home.”
In August last year, ISIS extremists had taken control of Shingal, 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.
Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh
Source: ARA News