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National Geographic report on the Yazidis

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:06 pm
Author: Anthea
Middle East Eye

Yazidi plight continues as international organisations remain on sidelines

The international spotlight has moved away from the plight of the Yazidis - many of whom remain stranded in Iraqi Kurdistan with little or no aid

DOHUK, IRAQI KURDISTAN – Gazal Shaybo holds her limp daughter in her arms, rocking her slightly as she clasps her unresponsive hand in her palm. Shaybo is at a loss. Her nine-year-old daughter Dalia has cerebral palsy, and is one of the thousands of Yazidis who fled their home in northern Iraq after the Islamic State (IS) tore through Sinjar, massacring hundreds. Now Shaybo and her daughter sit on an exposed concrete floor of a half-constructed building in the Kurdish city of Dohuk. Shaybo can’t get the medicine her daughter needs – even feeding her is a challenge, as water and food have become rare commodities.

Thousands of Yazidis like Shaybo and her daughter who made it out of Sinjar, through Syria and into the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq have been met with little or no aid. In Dohuk alone upwards of 80,000 Yazidis have set up unofficial communities throughout the city and the surrounding mountains.

The streets are now spotted with half-built concrete structures now jarringly ornamented with colourful strings of clothing suspended on lines. Sunburnt faces hang out of open gaps, constructed to be the future windows of posh office buildings and hotels. The buildings are only shells, walls don’t exist and the people seeking refuge in these structures are completely exposed to the elements.

The hazardous trek from Sinjar to their new makeshift home in Dohuk has had quite a toll on Dalia, whose small body appears fragile in the weathered clothes that drape over her tiny frame. Shaybo isn’t sure what the future has in store for her and her daughter. After arriving in Dohuk, Dalia spent four days in the hospital recovering from exposure, but resources are low, hospital fees are high, and doctors told Shaybo there was little they could do for her and her frail daughter.

Abandoned by the world

The apparent attempt by the IS to ethnically cleanse Yazidis from Iraq, garnered significant attention around the world, however recently that attention has waned and almost come to a halt. Shaybo said she expected to receive help from aid agencies and international governments when they eventually made it to Dohuk – but no aid came. Like many of the Yazidis who made it off Sinjar’s unforgiving and besieged mountaintops and trekked through civil-war-torn Syria, Shaybo feels abandoned.

“My daughter is sick. They told us we could get help if we had a passport to leave Iraq. But they said we have to go to Mosul to get a passport. How can we go to Mosul? We are in this situation because we ran from the Islamic State, now we are supposed to go to their capital? No one can go to Mosul. What kind of answer is that,” Shaybo told Middle East Eye. “Go to Mosul isn’t an answer, it isn’t even possible.”

Because of Dalia’s cerebral palsy, she can’t walk and she has very limited motor functions. Dalia and her family spent eight days on the mountains of Sinjar where food and water was virtually non-existent. Hundreds of people, including many children, died.

Just carrying Dalia was a challenge for Shaybo and her family. The fact that she made it off the mountains at all means Dalia was more fortunate than others.

“We saw our children die from thirst and hunger before our eyes, they died where they were sitting, no one could help, no one could do anything,” Saddam Elias, deputy captain of police in Sinjar, told MEE. “I tried to help, I picked up some of the ill and carried them on my shoulders, but after 15 or 20 minutes I couldn’t do it anymore – none of us could – we were all dying of hunger and thirst. We just had to put the ill on the ground where we stopped and many of them died there where we left them. We tried to help as much as we could.”

Desperate need

The people at the makeshift camp, where Elias, Shaybo and Dalia have now taken refuge, told MEE that the United Nations (UN) stopped by their building, which houses over 60 families from Sinjar, only once. When asked what they needed to make life more bearable the Yazidis at this building said for now they were in desperate need of clean water and portable toilets to stop people – especially the children – from falling sick. According to residents, that was three weeks ago and the UN has yet to revisit the makeshift camp.

The little bottled water and food the refugees have received has come from a small amount of Kurdish governmental aid and the local community. But it isn’t enough. To supplement their water resources, two wells have been dug behind their half finished building.

The water from the wells, however, is making people ill, but when the limited donated bottled water runs out the refugees must resort to consuming it. All of the children now suffer from diahorrea, and with no sanitation facilities or proper bathrooms, sickness has become a routine part of daily life.

“We have nothing for good health here, the mountains are our bathroom, but we have no place to wash, people are getting ill, there is no clean water,” Elias said. “Our water is so bad, every day we drink around one cup of water, the water is bad and there is hardly any of it. Everyone here is sick from diahorrea.”

One young woman sits beside one of the internal grey concrete pillars every day, her face is drained of colour, partly due to illness, partly due to grief. Every member of her immediate family was captured by the IS in Sinjar. She was too scared to give her name to MEE in fear that if any of her family members remained alive, their lives may be compromised by her speaking out. Now she sits and waits, eating a little and drinking a little. Consumed by a constant state of illness and bereavement, she is just attempting to wait out this part of her life in the hope she will see her family again.

“I am ill, but I still have no feeling now,” she told MEE. “They [IS] took my father, mother, brother, his wife and their child. I got away. We don’t have a future, my only want is to see my family again if they are still alive.”

Her story and the fate of her family is not unique. Up and down the streets and outskirts of Dohuk thousands of Yazidis have attempted to find shelter after a month of horrendous turmoil and heartbreak.

Respite has not been a part of refuge in Dohuk.

The spectre of death haunts the ill, while lack of food, water and medical supplies has ensured survival is still at the forefront of Yazidi minds. The ordeal has not ended, and all the refugees hope for is some form of help in the coming weeks, so that their month-long fight to survive the horrors of the IS will not be in vain.

“My message to the UN is that next month it will be autumn,” Elias told MEE, while holding back tears. “Now it is summer, we are able to survive, but when the cold hits it will be bad for us, we need their help, we need them to give us shelter, they have to find something for us, because no one else will. The mountains around Dohuk will be full of snow in the coming months, I don’t know if we will survive the winter.”

phpBB [video] ... 1994894520

Re: YPG Prevents Aid From Reaching Yazidi Refugees

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:04 pm
Author: Anthea

Sold into Sex and a Widow at 19

DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – One day, it was her turn to be sold.

Still, of all the hundreds of Yezidi girls and women captured, abused and sold as war booty by Islamic State militants in Iraq, she has to count herself among the fortunate.

That is because 19-year-old H. Ali, identifying herself only by her initial and already a widow with a three-year-old child, managed to escape. She lives to tell the tale of her abduction, captivity and abuse by the Islamic State (IS/formerly ISIS) armies.

What has emerged from her account – and of the few like her who could tell their stories to Rudaw -- after storming the Yezidi town of Shingal and nearby villages early last month, the militants embarked on a frenzy of killing, looting and abuse.

They killed the men, captured the women and separated young girls – some as young as 10 – to hand out or sell as war prize to fighters, their leaders or anyone willing to pay.

“When I saw the militants sexually abusing 10 and 12 year old girls, death became a normal thing to me,” said Ali, whose village of Girizer near Shingal was overrun by the militants on August 3.

Girizer was the site of the biggest massacre of Yezidis by the IS, whose strict religious code regards non-Muslim women as war loot and believes that girls as young as nine are fit for marriage.

“They separated the women and children from the men,” Ali recounted about the day the Islamists stormed her village. “They tied the men’s hands behind their backs, lay them down on the ground and killed them all.

“They took my husband, my father-in-law and my brother-in-law before my own eyes and they killed them together,” said Ali, who is now in Duhok.

Together with many other Yezidi women and children she was force-marched to the village of Ajaj, and then taken to the IS stronghold of Mosul. En route, several women and children were killed by the militants, she said.

When they arrived in Mosul, elderly women and young girls were once again separated.

“That is where I lost sight of my mother-in-law,” she recalled. “They put us in a large house and said, ‘those of here will have to get married,’” Ali continued, tears trickling down her cheeks at this part of her tragedy.

“They would buy and sell us several times a day,” she said of Iraqi and foreign militants who visited the house. “At least 10 times a day they would come into the house and take whoever they wanted. They would mostly take the virgin girls.”

Ali said that some girls were taken for a day or two and returned after unending beatings and abuse. “Three girls killed themselves before my own eyes,” Ali said of the time whe was held captive in Mosul. “They strangled themselves with their headscarves. They did this to escape the rape.

“One militant sold a girl to his driver,” she remembered. “I saw some Turkish and Syrian Arabs among the militants who came to buy the women. Whenever a woman didn’t return after two days I knew she would never come back. Some of the militants even came to the house with wedding dresses.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said this weekend that IS militants in Iraq have sold or handed out hundreds of Yezidi women.

The group said it had documented evidence that 27 of the captured Yezdi girls had been “sold and married” to fighters in Aleppo, Raqqa and Al-Hassakah. It said the girls were sold for $1,000 each.

In addition, “in recent weeks, some 300 women and girls of the Yezidi faith who were abducted in Iraq have been distributed as spoils of war to fighters from the Islamic State,” SOHR said. All this, Ali experienced firsthand.

After hesitating and trying to gain control of her tears and emotions, she continued with the hardest part of her story.

“No need to be shy; I was sold too,” she uttered, gripping the emotions welling behind the memory. “They took me to a nearby house, where my Syrian buyer came to pick me up.”

Her new master told her that there was no hope of reuniting with her family, declaring that “all of Kurdistan and Iraq is under our control.”

“He told me, ‘Forget about your family. But here is a phone, call your family and tell them that you are safe but will not return to them.’”

Her chance for escape came unexpectedly. And of the many tales of Arab neighbors collaborating with the militants against the Yezidis, Ali’s story is different.

“It was midnight and my child was very thirsty. I knocked on the door of the room where I was locked up and asked for water, but no one answered,” she said, recalling she forced open the door.

“The house was very quiet, but I saw three men sleeping there. I quietly slipped out of the house. I didn’t know where to go. For a while I walked among the hills until I came upon an Arab house. I went in and told them what happened to me,” she recounted.

“I said to the family, ‘Please protect me and I will give you later any amount of money you want,’ The Arab man was very kind. The next day he put me in his car and at every IS checkpoint they asked who I was and he answered, ‘She is my wife,’ until we came close to a Peshmerga checkpoint.”

From there Ali walked to the Kurdish Peshmergas who picked her up and took her to the Shariya refugee camp in Duhok.

“I just hope that no IS militant -- or their supporters -- remains alive on this earth,” Ali wished.

Re: YPG Prevents Aid From Reaching Yazidi Refugees

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:56 am
Author: Anthea
National Geographic

For Yazidis, Exile From Spiritual Homeland in Iraq Dilutes Ancient Culture

Some are contemplating migration, severing ties to their holy land. Others want to stay and protect their shrines.

LALISH, Iraq—Pir Said stood reverently barefoot, like all those in the inner temple sanctuary, on the warm inner stone courtyard of the holiest shrine in the Yazidi faith, the tomb of Sheikh Adi in the town of Lalish.

Lalish, in Iraq's northern Kurdish mountains, is to the Yazidis what Mecca is to Muslims, or what Jerusalem is to followers of the three great monotheistic faiths: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

It is the holiest site of an ancient Kurdish minority faith whose members have been in flight since early August, scattered by the tempestuous advance of Islamic State (IS) insurgents into Sinjar, a majority Yazidi town in northwestern Iraq, and its surroundings.

The Yazidis were propelled into the international spotlight last month, when tens of thousands fled on foot, climbing into the imposing but largely barren Sinjar Mountain range to escape IS militants besieging them at its base.

The United Nations doesn't have a specific figure for the number of displaced Yazidis, because it is considering Iraqis as a whole and not differentiating among the country's various religious communities, a spokesperson said. But it's clear from talking with displaced Yazidis that entire villages have been emptied of their inhabitants.

Their plight prompted U.S. President Barack Obama's administration to try to prevent a humanitarian crisis by delivering food and water via airdrops by the Iraqi and U.S. air forces, a strategy that was combined with U.S. airstrikes against IS positions around the mountain.

Most of the Yazidis who were on the mountain are now in makeshift camps in the governorate of Dahuk and other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan. Some 450 displaced families are staying in Lalish.

With the initial emergency over, the news cycle has moved on from the tragedy of the Yazidis, as it invariably does. But the fate of this community remains uncertain.

Entire villages have been emptied, their residents left to ponder if or when they can safely return. Some are contemplating migration, severing ties to a land they deem holy. Others are determined to stay and protect their shrines.

Spiritual Heartland

Lalish is safe for now, tucked away in a lush valley enclosed by gently undulating hills, some sparsely forested, others carpeted in a dry grass that makes them look like sun-kissed golden waves.

The place is so inconspicuous that it's easy to miss from the main ribbon of asphalt running alongside it. A left turn takes you to a small checkpoint manned by Kurdish peshmerga forces guarding the entrance to the town. On the right, there's a gas flare, its bright orange flame signposting the energy riches below the soil.

But it's the riches above the soil—the many religious shrines—that most concern adherents of this ancient faith, which according to their lore, is at least 6,700 years old.

Pir Said, a black-bearded 37-year-old dressed in baggy white pants and a loose long-sleeved white shirt, is a "servant of the house," dedicated to the temple sanctuary. He is one of only 25 people traditionally permitted to live permanently in this holy town.

He stood in the shade of one of the few mulberry trees—their thick, gnarled trunks sprouting from the stone floor—whose sprawling branches shield pilgrims from a merciless sun.

Several children rushed past him, kissing the stone archway before entering the cool cavernous interior of Sheikh Adi's tomb, carefully stepping over, but not on, the threshold as tradition dictates.

"I cannot leave Lalish, or live without it," Pir Said said. "People, whoever they might be, are most present in their own land. When they leave it, they disappear—they melt into other communities. We're present here as a community in Lalish. If we leave, we think we will be weakened."

As with Muslims and Mecca, Yazidis must undertake a pilgrimage to Lalish at least once in their lifetime if they can, and those who live in Iraq should do so at least once a year.

The Yazidis are no strangers to persecution. They've endured it at least 72 times in their history, they say. This episode marks number 73. Estimates of their numbers range from a million to 700,000 to a few hundred thousand. There's a large Yazidi community in Germany, and others in North America, Turkey, and Syria, but most Yazidis live in northern Iraq, in an area radiating from Lalish.

A Rigid Belief System

Theirs is not an inclusive community. Yazidis forbid converts and abide by a strict caste system–a vestige, along with a belief in reincarnation, of their time in India thousands of years ago—that prohibits not only marriage with non-Yazidis but also intermarriage between the castes. (According to some accounts, the Yazidis fled from Kurdistan to India long ago, whereas others claim they originated from there.)

Like the IS adherents who are tormenting them, Yazidis declare followers they perceive to have strayed from their rigid belief system to be infidels.

Yazidi religion, which blends Zoroastrianism and Mesopotamian rituals with Christian, Jewish, and Sufi influences, centers around seven great angels led by Malik Taus (or Tawsi Malik), also known as the Peacock Angel or, less charitably, Shaytan—Satan.

Unlike members of the three great monotheistic faiths that consider Satan a fallen angel, the Yazidis believe that he was forgiven, his tears of redemption so voluminous that they extinguished the fires of hell.

And in the same way that Muslims turn to Mecca to pray, Yazidis face the sun.

It is for these reasons that IS followers, and others before them, consider Yazidis devil and sun worshipping apostates.

PLEASE follow the link to read the TRUE wonderful history of the gentle Yazidis: ... mic-state/

Re: National Geographic Report on the Yazidis

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:26 am
Author: Anthea

Kurdish Official: We Have ‘Solid Evidence’ of Mass Executions by IS

DOHUK, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish official dealing with Yezidi refugees said there was “solid evidence” of mass executions by the Islamic State armies, as a UN mission heads to Iraq to investigate rights violations by the militants.

Dr. Nuri Usman, who is in charge of a special office set up the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for the return of Yezidis made homeless by an IS attack on their villages last month, declined to speculate about the numbers of dead.

“There have clearly been mass executions. It may take years to even understand how and how many have been killed or abducted,” he said.

“We have solid evidence that nearly 100 Muslim Kurds were executed. The Islamic State does not differentiate between Muslim Kurds or Yezidi Kurds.”

He also said the KRG is trying to rightfully influence the international community to recognize the mass killings in Shingal as an act of genocide and has gathered sufficient evidence for it.

“We have collected a great number of images and videos that confirm the massacre as a clear act of genocide.”

Last week, the United Nations said it was sending a mission to Iraq to investigate rights violations by the Islamists, but also by the Iraqi government and groups associated with it.

Usman was confident the refugees from Shingal would return to their homes, saying recapture of the town from the militants is “just a matter of time.”

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), whose forces are reportedly present on the ground, stated last month that the efforts to recapture Shingal should be coordinated with their military forces.

More than 600 school buildings were allocated to accommodate the refugees in Dohuk province, Usman said. He said schools are likely to start later than usual this year “but the KRG will do its utmost to relocate the refugees into proper camps.”

Usman said the work of his office will go on as long as the Shingal refugee crisis continues.

“We’re in constant contact with many international organizations and NGOs and try to help them understand the instant needs of these refugees,” he said.

He added that a reliable assessment of the number of the refugees was impossible at the moment. “The refugees are not staying only in one place. Some are in Erbil, some stay with their relatives. Nearly 7,000 refugees are still on the Shingal Mountain. So it’s difficult to know the exact number.”

According to Usman, more than 5,000 people decided to stay in Shingal and the surrounding villages.

“We have supplied them with food and water. They want to stay there (the Shingal area), because some of them have livestock and don’t want to abandon their livelihood.”

Re: Solid Evidence of Mass Executions of Yazidis by IS

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:55 am
Author: Anthea
Bas News


Two Kurdish Russian Businessman Donate $1.5 Million to Yazidi Refugees :ymapplause:
Aryan Tahseen

Zalim Khan and Amir Khan, two wealthy Kurdish Russian businessmen have offered more than $1.5 million to Kurdish Yazidi refugees.

The Russia-based men gave their donation to Yazidi refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan via the Barzani Charity Foundation.

“We have heard how the Barzani Charity Foundation has been able to provide support for our Yazidi brothers and we wanted to show our support and provide them with basic needs,” Amir Khan told BasNews.

He added that when he saw the dire situation the Yazidis are in, they quickly came to Kurdistan and visited some of the refugee camps in the region to see the conditions for themselves.

He called on all local and foreign businessmen to show their loyalty and help the refugees and provide aid to them.

BasNews has learned that last year both Khans sent planes full of food and basic needs to Syrian Kurdistan refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Khan brothers, originally from Kurdistan, are well known in Russia and Europe. ... gees/32753

Re: Solid Evidence of Mass Executions of Yazidis by IS

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:04 am
Author: Anthea
Barzani Charity Foundation

Please visit their page and see some of the great work they have been doing to help the Yazidis

Re: Solid Evidence of Mass Executions of Yazidis by IS

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:43 pm
Author: Anthea

Iran Holds up Yezidi Refugee Aid

Iranian Kurdish activists collecting donations and humanitarian supplies for Yezidi refugees in the Kurdistan Region say the aid isn’t being delivered because of disputes with local authorities.

Sadoon Mazuchi, spokesman for the aid effort in Mahabad told Rudaw the mayor of the largely Kurdish city and the provincial governor of Urumiyeh are demanding that aid only be sent to a government-run refugee camp for Yezidis on the Sardasht-Qaladze border.

Aid organizers have rejected the demand, saying they want to either send the relief directly to refugees in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region or to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil.

Tens of thousands of Yezidi Kurdish refugees fled persecution by Islamic State (IS) extremists when they invaded the town of Shingal last month. Most ended up in Syria or Iraqi Kurdistan, but some have made their way to Kurdish areas in Turkey or Iran.

Mazuchi maintained that the Red Crescent in Mahabad was also unable to send aid to the refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan.

One aid worker in Mahabad said they have collected 10 trucks of humanitarian supplies and 700 million Iranian tomans ($23,000) in Kurdish-majority cities in western Iran. Although they have created a committee with the mayor and the Red Crescent to administer the aid, just two of the deliveries have made it to refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region.

Re: Solid Evidence of Mass Executions of Yazidis by IS

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:48 pm
Author: Anthea

Yezidis Say Only Safe Haven with Global Help Can Save Them in Iraq
By Judit Neurink

Yezidi leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan want an internationally-backed safe haven to help the devastated community return to their homes, once the areas have been cleansed of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

Hundreds of thousands of Yezidi Kurds fled their homes in the Shingal area to escape an IS advance in early August, in which hundreds of men were killed and women captured. Most Yezidis eventually reached the safety of the Kurdistan Region.

Here, large numbers are suffering for lack of housing and support, their situation so desperate that many are looking for ways to leave Iraq and find asylum in the West.

Vian Dakhil, a Yezidi Iraqi MP whose emotional appeal for help was mentioned by President Barack Obama when he authorized airstrikes against the IS last month, has demanded that Europe open its doors wide to Yezidi asylum seekers.

But leaders of the Yezidi community in Iraq worry that emigration would leave the minority community even more vulnerable. Once strong in numbers in the region, now there are only an estimated 650,000 Yezidis left in Iraq, with some 100,000 living abroad.

“If our security is guaranteed, no more than five percent will leave Iraq,” said Baba Sheikh, the 81-year-old religious leader of the Yezidis who opposes emigration. “We call on the international community to protect us.”

The religious leader, who lives in the mixed town of Shekhan only miles from territory captured by IS, favors a safe haven for the Yezidis.

According to his spokesman and younger brother, Hadi Baba Sheikh, only 500 soldiers from an international coalition would suffice for the task, perhaps based at an old army base in Shingal, the main city of the Yezidi region. “If you station them there, that will scare away anyone who plans anything against us.”

The spokesman said the international community should also provide a no-fly zone, like the one that saved the Kurds in the early 1990s from Saddam Hussein – although the IS does not have any air power.

“It is not the first time that we have been targeted, nor will it be the last,” said Mir Said, son of the main priest at Lalish, the holy temple of the Yezidis.

He predicted that if the world did not help with a safe haven and UN peacekeepers, Yezidis would leave Iraq in droves.

Baba Sheikh agreed that the situation is critical: “If we do not get this protection, it will be hard to imagine how we can survive.”

His spokesman added that it is highly preferable for his people to remain in Iraq, because once they are abroad many marry Westerners, and are lost for the community. Their strict rules make it impossible to marry outside the faith, and Yezidis do not allow conversions into or out of the faith. This is partly the reason for the decline of numbers over the years.

The rules were made because, throughout history, those in power have tried to force Yezidis to convert. The robbing of women also has been a returning feature of history.

Now, it is the IS that tries to convince abducted Yezidi women to convert, then selling them into marriage with fighters or their leaders. If the women refuse, they are abused sexually. Yezidi men are also being forced into conversion: according to IS propaganda, 200 have embraced Islam.

Because of the tragic circumstances, the strict Yezidi laws will be softened for once, Baba Sheikh announced. “Our spiritual council has to decide, but if people were really forced, they will be taken back into our midst.”

That is important for women who have been sexually abused and robbed of their honor by IS. Ashamed and desperate, some have asked for the places where they are kept to be bombed, while others have chosen suicide.

To send those in IS captivity a signal, Yezidi leaders in Kurdistan have announced that both men and women who have been taken captive or forced to convert will be welcomed back into the community.

“We have called on the community to welcome them without any hesitation,” according to Baba Sheikh’s spokesman, “and to accept the women as normal marriage partners for our men.”

Re: Yazidis ask international community to protect them

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:43 pm
Author: Anthea
Daily Sabah

By Yusuf Selman İnanç

MARDİN — The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which is an offshoot of al-Qaida, has been slaughtering the ancient Yazidi community in Iraq, causing another humanitarian crisis in the country. While some Yazidi villages near the Iraqi town of Sinjar have been vacated, some Yazidis fled to the Kurdish region and others went to Turkey.

ISIS, after capturing Iraq's Mosul and a few other cities from the central Iraqi government, started targeting Yazidis who speak Kurdish. ISIS calls on the Yazidi community to either convert to Islam or be killed. Yazidis, unable to flee to safer areas went to the mountains. Initial reports said that hundreds of Yazidis were killed by ISIS, and dozens of children died of thirst. ISIS, which previously captured Christian areas, had forced Christians to pay a tax. Yet, the tax is not applicable for Yazidis, as their belief is not categorized as an acceptable one, according to ISIS.

Turkey has been the main country that has opened its doors to Yazidis. Approximately 10,000 Yazidis crossed the border into Turkey. While many of them were accommodated in Turkish Yazidi villages, others who have no relatives in Turkey were placed in a refugee camp. Daily Sabah paid a visit to the camp to gather information about the conditions and the activities of the government.

The refugee camp has two sections. One has been allocated to Syrian refugees, while the other section was empty until June, as it was built for Assyrian Christians who were also under threat in Syria. However, the Assyrians did not come to the camp, as they preferred to stay with their relatives in Turkey. Midyat Governor Oğuzhan Bingöl said: "The camp was only for Assyrians according to a cabinet resolution. Although we needed more places for Syrian Arab refugees, the government said in case of an Assyrian migration, the camp must be ready. But when the Yazidis started coming to Turkey, the government did not want the people to wait for the construction of another one, as they immediately needed help. Therefore, we took the Yazidis as guests and placed them here."

In the tent camp, which is under the control and responsibility of the Prime Ministry's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), there are 2,810 Yazidi guests. Each tent includes kitchen equipment, beds, blankets and other essential materials. Each tent houses a family, and if the number of members in a family is greater than six or seven, an additional tent is allocated for that family. AFAD officials regularly deliver humanitarian aid, including hygiene equipment, extra blankets, clothes, et cetera.

A doctor at the camp serves patients around the clock. But if a patient needs treatment, officials send the patient either to a local hospital or to Istanbul.

Another service offered at the camp is an education facility, as the children of fleeing families have been unable to pursue regular education.

AFAD officials said the teachers would be selected from among the Yazidis, since there are many teachers who fled from ISIS, and a big tent will be designated as a school. The education will be in Kurdish and continue during the year.

AFAD spokesperson said: "Turkey will continue doing its best for its Yazidi guests. We are aware that it is difficult to live in a camp, and we try to make them feel at home and safe. People who witnessed horrible scenes have to be relaxed psychologically. We try to deal with any kind of problem and make them feel comfortable. " Regarding the fact that Yazidis are not Muslims, he said: "Contrary to the claims and accusations by some media outlets, we are helping anyone who is under threat and in need of help, regardless of their sect or religion. We host Syrians and also Yazidis. If members of another belief or ethnicity come to Turkey, they also will be our guests." he added: "Turkey is also building three other camps in northern Iraq, and the camps will be the same as this one. We build them in Iraq because some of the refugees are unable to reach Turkey due to security issues. One of the camps will be in Duhok, while two others will be built in Zaho. A total of 270 families were placed in one of these camps, and the other camps will be opened in mid-September." "One of the camps will house Turkmens, and the two others will be for Yazidis," he said. Touching upon the additional aid delivered to the Yazidis, he added: "24 trucks full of humanitarian aid, including medical equipment, food, water, et cetera, were sent to Sinjar. Another 37 trucks were also sent to Zaho. More than 200 trucks were sent to Iraq."

The Turkish government has been applying an open-door policy to refugees fleeing from the violence in Syria and Iraq. According to a Daily Sabah source, recently appointed Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who is responsible for AFAD, follows the issue very closely and regularly receives briefings about the conditions and deficiencies of the camps.

Suleiman Allawi, a Yazidi staying at the Mardin camp, said: "I was a teacher at a primary school in Sinjar. We had to leave our homes and climbed to Sinjar Mountain when ISIS militants came. They were killing everyone. We crossed the border and Turkish officials warmly welcomed us. We are not happy to be in a camp, but we have to thank Turkey for letting us in and giving us food."

"I am 19. I was studying construction engineering. I was born to a Yazidi family in Shengal (Sinjar). This was my destiny. And this is the 74th time that Yazidis have been massacred. It is enough," said Omar, another camp resident, while making a call to the U.N. and European countries to get them to grant an immigration permit. He also thanked Turkey and said they would not go to Iran or Syria and their only option was Turkey. He added, "We are very happy with Turkey's treatment, although we feel sad at the same time for being forced to leave our homes."

AFAD officials said Turkey would maintain its open-door policy, despite the social and economic cost. Officials say it costs TL 100,000 ($50,000) daily to keep the camp open. Building a camp from scratch costs TL 20 million ($10 million) according to officials. Many Yazidis do not want to go back to Iraq, as they say it is not safe anymore, even though ISIS has been defeated by the U.S. and other forces. The only thing they want is to go to Europe and obtain residence permits.

Yazidis are a Kurdish ethnic and religious minority, which includes elements of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism. The center of the belief is in the Nineveh province of Iraq. Yazidis live in Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Iraq. Yet, the number of Yazidis in Turkey, Armenia and Georgia has dramatically decreased because members of the community prefer migrating to European countries due to the problems they faced related to their beliefs. ... -from-isis

Re: Turkey opens it's doors to Yazidis escaping IS/ISIS

PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:11 pm
Author: Anthea

Yezidi Refugees Sheltered in Notorious Roboski Village
By Deniz Serinci

Having survived mass killings and starvation, 200 Yezidi refugees have trekked through rugged mountain terrain to seek shelter in Roboski, a village in southeastern Turkey that was the cite of a massacre in 2011.

Yezidi Kurds from Iraq began fleeing over the border to Roboski after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) extremists attacked the community last month in what Amnesty International has deemed “ethnic cleansing on an historic scale.”

The arrival of desperate Yezidis seeking shelter in Roboski has attracted media attention in Turkey given the village’s tortured history.

Thirty-four people — most teenagers from a Kurdish family — were killed when Turkish F-16 fighter jets bombed the village in Sirnak province along the Turkish-Iraqi border in December 2011.

The boys, who were smuggling in petrol and cigarettes from Iraq, were apparently mistaken for Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels. The government deemed the attack an unintentional error but families and Kurdish rights advocates have demanded the case be probed further.

Veli Encu, chairman of the Roboski Martyrs Association, told Rudaw that village residents are collecting money for refugees, providing medication and welcoming them into their homes. Many of the refugees are suffering the effects of chronic dehydration and a 60-year-old man recently died.

"We are victims ourselves and will always be ready to help other victims. We will always stand side by side with them and share their grief," said Encu, who lost his 16-year old brother and 11 other relatives in the 2011 massacre.

Cengiz Gunay, chairman of the Medical Association in Diyarbakir, said that in addition to recovering from starvation and thirst, the refugees are also being treated in Roboski for chronic illnesses. Refugees in Roboski are not entitled to healthcare in public hospitals, however.

"It's a big problem because many of them are physical handicapped,” said Gunay. “It’s clear that children haven’t had access to water for a long time.”

Roboski is known for its treacherous mountains, which are difficult for cars to navigate. The same tractor that was used to transport the bodies after the 2011 massacre was used to transport the Yezidi refugees to the village.

"Slowly, we have developed an almost familial ties to these refugees from Shingal," Encu said.

One of the refugees, Ahmad Ahmad, agreed.

Like many, Ahmad is slowly recovering from the IS attack on Shingal, where extremists beheaded one of his elderly female relatives.

"We are very happy with the care and hospitality we have received in Roboski," Ahmad said.

Yusuf Dawud spent seven days starving and severely dehydrated during the IS siege of Shingal mountain. Islamic extremists consider Yezidis devil worshipers, a crime punishable by death.

"It was really hard. Some of my friends didn’t make it and died. We thank Roboski many times for their help," Dawud said.

Rustem Erkan, a professor at Dicle University in Diyarbakir and an expert on the Kurds, said, “Since the 1960s, Roboski had a tradition of helping Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) on the Iraqi side of the border.”

He added that unlike most Iraqi Kurds who speak a dialect called Sorani, Yezidis Kurds in Turkey have stronger ties because both speak the Kurmanji dialect.

Refugees, however, consider Roboski a temporary solution.

"We can’t live in peace in Shingal so unless a solution is found in Shingal, we hope that Europe will take us," Ahmad said.

Re: Yezidi Refugees Sheltered in Notorious Roboski Village

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:19 pm
Author: Anthea
Yazidi leader: Islamic State has thousands of suicide bombers that can attack anywhere

Mirza Dinnayi, a senior Yazidi leader and a former adviser on minority affairs to the Iraqi president speaks at conference in Herzliya.

The Islamic State has the capability to launch attacks “anywhere in the world,” a Yazidi community leader said at the annual conference held by the International Institute for Counter- Terrorism on Tuesday.

“The Islamic State has no nuclear capability, but it has thousands of suicide bombers that can attack people anywhere in the world,” said Mirza Dinnayi, a senior Yazidi leader and a former adviser on minority affairs to the Iraqi president.

The northern Iraqi city of Mosul fell easily upon being attacked by the Islamic State, he said, adding that similar incidents have happened repeatedly throughout the history of the city since the time of the Ottoman Empire.

“At first, the various minorities thought that they would be fine under Islamic State rule,” said the leader, as at first, even the small Christian community in Mosul remained.

However, eventually the Christian community in the Iraqi city was given three options: Convert to Islam, pay a poll tax or exile.

“Christians chose to leave the Islamic State and in response it began attacking the various minorities that remained,” he said.

Dinnayi asserted the group is being supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar and controls territory four times the size of Israel.

“This is a holy war in the name of Allah.”

“When the attacks against the Yazidis began, those who did not have the ability to travel, fled to the mountains,” explained Dinnayi, pointing out that the Muslims there cooperated with the terrorists in slaughtering them and raping their wives.

Dinnayi complained that the international community was too slow to react.

“Today there are more than 300,000 refugees, 3,000 killed, and 5,000 women kidnapped,” he claimed.

The Yazidis, followers of an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism, are spread over northern Iraq and are part of the country’s Kurdish minority.

The conference is taking place this week until Thursday at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

Reuters contributed to this report. ... ere-374905

Re: Yezidi Leader: IS bombers can attack anywhere in world

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:02 am
Author: Anthea


Yezidi supreme leader demands ‘safe zone’ in Iraq

Al-Hasakah, Syria – The spiritual head of the Supreme Council of Yezidis, Hadi Baba Sheikh, called on the international community on Sunday to work on the establishment of a safe zone in Shingal area in Nineveh province, northern Iraq, particularly in the disputed areas between the central government of Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region.

Baba Sheikh’s demand of establishing a safe zone in northern Iraq came during an interview with the Kurdish newspaper of Awene.

The Yezidi spiritual leader called on the international community to arm the Yezidis of Mount Sinjar in order to cope with the threat of the Islamic State’s (IS/ISIS) militants who are still in control of the Shingal area. “The Yezidi community suffers the most under the attacks of IS extremists in Iraq. More than 300,000 Yezidis are displaced from their homes, and hundreds others were brutally killed,” Hadi Baba Sheikh said. ... ot-to-pkk/

Re: Yezidi Leader: IS bombers can attack anywhere in world

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:07 am
Author: Anthea


Why the PKK Won’t Leave Mount Sinjar

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has claimed that there is a plan to attack PKK fighters on Mount Sinjar with air strikes. According to a military source, the US does not want the PKK on Mount Sinjar. The PKK claims that this is because it is militarily strategic, as a position for launching long-range missiles. Recently, The People’s Protection Units (YPG), military ally of the PKK on Mount Sinjar, also claimed that there was a plan to shell areas under their control in order to expose it as controlled by Islamic State (IS) insurgents.

In information obtained by BasNews, the PKK’s warning is related to the fact that the US has warned the Kurdistan Regional Government and the PKK itself that the PKK must not stay on Mount Sinjar. Military and political experts believe that this request has been made by the US as long-range rockets could target countries as far away as Israel from the mountain.

The experts say that the US does not want control of the mountain to fall into the wrong hands, especially the militant group the KCK [another military ally of PKK]. Under the leadership of Cemil Bayik, the Executive Council Co-chair of the KCK, the group is supported by Iran, making it a threat to US allies, particularly Israel. Saddam Hussein launched many long-range rockets at the capital city of Israel in the first Gulf War.

The Commander of Peshmerga forces on the mountain, Qasim Shasho, told BasNews, “There are no IS militants on the mountain, only PKK fighters, Peshmerga forces and Yazidi youths. Yazidis outnumber all of these forces together.’

“The US knows that there are no IS insurgents on Mount Sinjar, and they won’t shell forces that fight IS militants. However, this is the Kurdistan Region and militants on the mountain must be under our command,’ said Shasho. He said that the Yazidkhan forces report to the General Commander of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani, from whom they get both support and orders. BasNews sources revealed that the PKK has attempted to use the situation in Sinjar town as way to establish ‘Sinjar Canton’ and place it under their control, in addition to the three cantons of Syrian Kurdistan which are governed by the PYD (a wing of the PKK). This is a major cause for concern for the US, especially after a US military delegation discovered that the PKK demanded Shasho, as commander of the Peshmerga forces on the mountain, to come under their command, an order he rejected out of hand.

’We will not take orders from the PKK, or any other militants that come from outside of the Kurdistan Region,’ said Shasho. Member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – Syria (KDP-S) Leadership Council, Nouri Brimo, told BasNews that the PKK and YPG arrived in the Kurdistan Region seeking to establish Sinjar Canton. Remaining on the mountain indicates how politically and militarily important it is to the PKK, which can use it to apply pressure on the Kurdistan Region and the US. ’They can establish missile launchers and even missile defense systems, which would be a huge threat to US allies. The US will never allow the PKK to stay on the mountain,’ said Brimo. ... -by-force/

Re: Yezidi Leader: IS bombers can attack anywhere in world

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:01 pm
Author: Anthea
The Chicago Tribune

The story of a 14-year-old Yazidi girl captured by Islamic State

A 14-year-old Yazidi girl's story about her capture by the Islamic State

This is the story told to me by a 14-year-old Yazidi girl I'll call “Narin,” currently staying in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. I am a Kurdish journalist with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia who covers northern Iraq as a freelancer for several international news outlets. I heard about Narin's tale through a Yazidi friend who knew her. Aside from translating from Kurdish and excerpting her story in collaboration with Washington Post editors, the only things I changed are all the names, at Narin's request, to protect her and other victims from reprisal; many of her relatives are still in captivity.

As the sun rose over my dusty village on Aug. 3, relatives called with terrifying news: Jihadists from the Islamic State were coming for us. I'd expected just another day full of household tasks in Tel Uzer, a quiet spot on the western Nineveh plains of Iraq, where I lived with my family. Instead, we scrambled out of town on foot, taking only our clothes and some valuables.

After an hour of walking north, we stopped to drink from a well in the heart of the desert. Our plan was to take refuge on Mount Sinjar, along with thousands of other Yazidis like us who were fleeing there, because we had heard a lot of stories about Islamic State brutality and what they had done to non-Muslims. They'd been converting religious minorities or simply killing them. But suddenly several vehicles drew up and we found ourselves surrounded by militants wearing Islamic State uniforms. Several people screamed in horror; we were scared for our lives. I've never felt so helpless in my 14 years. They had blocked our path to safety, and there was nothing we could do.

The militants divided us by gender and age: One for young and capable men, another for girls and young women, and a third for older men and women. The jihadists stole cash and jewelry from this last group, and left them alone at the oasis. Then they placed the girls and women in trucks. As they drove us away, we heard gunshots. Later we learned that they were killing the young men, including my 19-year old brother, who had married just six months ago.

That afternoon, they brought us to an empty school in Baaj, a little town west of Mosul near the Syrian border. We met many other Yazidi women who were captured by Islamic State. Their fathers, brothers and husbands had also been killed, they told us. Then Islamic State fighters entered. One of them recited the words to the shahada, the Muslim creed “I testify that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is his prophet” and said that if we repeated them, we would become Muslims. But we refused. They were furious. They insulted us a lot and cursed us and our beliefs.

A couple of days later, we were taken to a large hall full of a few dozen more Yazidi girls and women in Mosul, where Islamic State has its Iraqi headquarters. Some of the fighters were my age. They told us we were pagans and confined us for 20 days inside the building, where we slept on the floor and ate only once per day. Every now and then, an Islamic State man would come in and tell us to convert, but each time we refused. As faithful Yazidis, we would not abandon our religion. We wept a lot and mourned the losses suffered by our community.

One day, our guards separated the married from unmarried women. My good childhood friend Shayma and I were given as a gift to two Islamic State members from the south, near Baghdad. They wanted to make us their wives or concubines. Shayma was awarded to Abu Hussein, who was a cleric. I was given to an overweight, dark-bearded man about 50 years old who seemed to have some high rank. He went by the nickname Abu Ahmed. They drove us down to their home in Fallujah. On the road, we saw many Islamic State fighters and remnants of their battles.

Abu Ahmed, Abu Hussein and an aide lived in a Fallujah house that looked like a palace. Abu Ahmed kept telling me to convert, which I ignored. He tried to rape me several times, but I did not allow him to touch me in any sexual way. Instead, he cursed me and beat me every day, punching and kicking me. He fed me only one meal per day. Shayma and I began to discuss killing ourselves.

We were given mobile phones and instructed to call our families. Their journey had been almost as hard as ours: They'd made it to Mount Sinjar, where the Islamic State surrounded them and tried to starve them to death. After five days under siege, Kurdish rescue forces evacuated them to Syria and then brought them back to northern Iraq. If they traveled to Mosul and converted to Islam, our captors had us tell them, we would be released. Understandably, they did not trust the Islamic State, so they did not make the trip.

On our sixth day in Fallujah, Abu Ahmed and the aide left for business in Mosul. Abu Hussein, Shayma's captor, stayed behind. Around sunset the next evening, he went to the mosque for prayers, leaving us alone in the house. Using our cellphones, we had contacted Mahmoud, a Sunni friend of Shayma's cousin, who lived in Fallujah, for help. It was too dangerous for him to rescue us from the house, so Shayma and I used kitchen knives and meat cleavers to break the locks of two doors to get out. Wearing traditional long black abayas that we found in the house, we walked for 15 minutes through town, which was quiet for evening prayers. Then Mahmoud came and picked us up on the street and took us to his home.

That night, Mahmoud fed us and gave us a place to sleep. The next morning, he recruited a cab driver to take us all on the two-hour ride to Baghdad. The driver said he was afraid of Islamic State but offered to help us for God's sake. We dressed like local women and covered our faces with a niqab, leaving only our eyes visible. Mahmoud gave us fake student IDs in case we were stopped at checkpoints.

I had never felt so much anxiety. At each checkpoint, I was sure we'd be discovered. At one I cannot recall if it was controlled by Islamic State or Iraqi forces Mahmoud bribed the guards to let us through. We had contacted Yazidi and Muslim Kurdish family friends to help us in Baghdad, and I cannot describe the dizzy sense of relief I felt when we arrived at their house.

In Baghdad, the family friends gave us another pair of fake ID cards that enabled us to board a flight to Irbil, the capital of Kurdistan in the north. I still couldn't believe we were free until our plane touched the ground. After staying in Irbil overnight at the house of a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament, Vian Dakhil, we traveled north to Shekhan, to the residence of Baba Sheikh, the spiritual leader of the world's Yazidis.

After so much fear for so many days, hugging my dad again was the best moment of my life. He said he had cried for me every day since I disappeared. That evening, we went to Khanke, where my mother was staying with her relatives. We hugged and kept crying until then I fainted. My month-long ordeal was over, and I felt reborn.

But there more bad news to come. That's when I learned that Islamic State had shot my brother at the oasis. My sister-in-law, a very beautiful woman, is still captive somewhere in Mosul. Now I am trying to come to terms with what happened. I can never again set foot in our little village, even if it's freed from Islamic State, because the memory of my brother who died nearby would haunt me too much. I still have nightmares and swoon several times a day when I remember what I saw or imagine what would have happened if Shayma and I hadn't escaped.

What can I do? I want to leave this country altogether. This country is no place for me anymore. I want to go to a place where I might be able to start over, if that is even possible.

By Mohammed A. Salih a Kurdish journalist who covers Northern Iraq as a freelancer. ... story.html

Re: Yezidi Leader: IS bombers can attack anywhere in world

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:06 pm
Author: Anthea

British female jihadis running ISIS 'brothels' allowing killers to rape kidnapped Yazidi women

Members of the all-women al-Khanssaa Brigade in Raqqa, Syria, are running brothels for Islamic State murderers

British female jihadis are running brothels full of women kidnapped and forced into sex slavery by Islamic State militants.

It is understood they are members of an ultra-religious IS ‘police’ force tasked with looking after girls captured from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq.

As many as 3,000 Iraqi women have been taken captive in the last two weeks by the terror group.

Sources suggest that members of the all-women al-Khanssaa Brigade in Raqqa, Syria, are running brothels to satisfy the fighters’ desires.

One said: “These women are using barbaric interpretations of the Islamic faith to justify their actions.

“They believe the militants can use these women as they please as they are non-Muslims.

“The Yazidi people are being ethnically cleansed, and their women are being subjected to the most brutal treatment.

“It is the British women who have risen to the top of the Islamic State’s sharia police and now they are in charge of this operation.

"It is as bizarre as it is perverse.”

A report obtained by the Daily Mirror from researchers at think tank MEMRI – the Middle East Media Research Institution – confirms ethnic sex slavery is taking place on a massive scale.

The report states: “During its takeover of large parts of northern Iraq the IS captured many Yazidi villages, and reportedly took many Yazidi women to be sold and used as sex slaves.”

Researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation suggest up to 60 British women have gone to Syria for jihad.

Sources have revealed some of these women have emerged as key figures in the al-Khanssaa brigade and are enticing dozens more to leave their families and join them.

Aspiring doctor Aqsa Mahmood, 20, who fled her Glasgow home last November, is understood to be part of the brigade.

She said she wanted to behead Christians with a “blunt knife”. ... is-4198165