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Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:39 am
Author: Anthea
Sinjar Under Threat of Another Genocide

The predominantly Yezidi town of Sinjar is facing a serious threat of another genocide after the Islamic State (ISIS) is almost eradicated on the ground, a local official said

ISIS attacked Sinjar and massacred the Yezidis after calling them “infidels”. They killed more than 1,000 people, kidnapped over 6,000 women, men and children, and forced hundreds of thousands to escape their homes.

Speaking to BasNews on Tuesday, Wais Naif, head of Sinjar Mayoral Council, warned that the Yezidis are not safe as some ISIS insurgents are now moving from Syria to Iraq and they could reside in areas around Sinjar in northern Iraq.

He explained that hundreds of ISIS militants were handed over to the Iraqi authorities after they were captured by the Syrian fighters, but the Iraqi government is failing to interrogate them for possible involvement in Sinjar massacre of 2014.

According to Naif, the Yezidis will not feel safe until all perpetrators of Sinjar massacre are faced with justice.

“These militants could form sleeper cells and operate under the same extremist ideology against Yezidis,” he added.

“We don’t want anyone once affiliated with ISIS to return to Sinjar region. The Iraqi government is required to investigate and interrogate all the terrorists it repatriates from Syria." ... M.facebook

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:32 am
Author: Anthea
Yazidi hostages traded to
criminals as ISIS loses ground

Yazidi children and women abducted by ISIS at the peak of its power are now being traded by criminal traffickers in Syria as the country’s eight-year civil war morphs into an era of violent lawlessness

Although the Syrian regime is claiming victory and ISIS is close to losing its final scrap of territory, kidnap victims remained imprisoned in parts of northern Syria controlled by Turkish-backed rebels or jihadist militants, say families and would-be rescuers.

The kidnap victims are from Iraq’s Yazidi minority — followers of an ancient monotheistic religion who Isis massacred and enslaved in 2014 in attacks the UN designated as a genocide.

Now new captors are capitalising on ISIS’s fall, taking control of victims who in some cases had been handed over by fleeing ISIS fighters caught by other rebel groups. Captors are demanding up to $30,000 for each Yazidi’s release in a country where the average Iraqi earns $6,000 to $7,000 per year, according to the government.

The post-ISIS kidnap market reflects a breakdown of order in parts of Syria where control has shifted from opposition councils to armed groups harbouring criminal gangs. In areas controlled by President Bashar al-Assad criminality is also rampant.

In ISIS’s self-declared caliphate — which once spanned Iraq and Syria — fighters enslaved Yazidis and traded their victims in meticulously organised markets. Women were forced into sexual slavery and children used as servants or quasi-adopted.

One young woman who fled ISIS’s shrinking territory in north-east Syria was snatched as she sought protection at a civilian home in Deir Ezzor, according to Hassan Sulaiman Ismail, an education official trying to retrieve her.

Yazidi families — among Iraq’s poorest people — are trying to locate a total of more than 3,000 missing relatives bought and sold by Isis members, according to Yazda, an advocacy organisation.

Ahmed Burjus, Yazda’s deputy director, said the authorities had failed to help. “There is no plan from the international community or Iraq or Kurdistan government to rescue those people,” he said. The Assad regime has no control of areas where kidnap victims are being held.

Yazidi women attend a ceremony in Iraq commemorating women killed by ISIS militants © Reuters

One father said he had rescued five of his children from kidnappers and five were still missing.

He learnt via a video sent to him on WhatsApp that one daughter was no longer being held by her original captor, a Saudi ISIS fighter who had died. Instead, he discovered that the 10-year-old had been taken by criminals and was now being transported through Syria.

The girl’s new captors, their Syrian accents audible in the video clip, instructed the gaunt child in an abaya to repeat the day’s date. They sent messages demanding $13,000, then $20,000. “It’s very difficult to collect that much money,” said the man.

The latest videos showed his daughter in a tent. “That means they are civilians,” said the man. “Or ISIS pretending to be civilians.”

In the absence of international rescue efforts, Yazidis have established networks of informants and smugglers within ISIS’s territories to rescue the women and children or buy them from captors.

Launching rescue efforts in jihadist-held Idlib and areas of north-west Syria controlled by Turkish-backed rebels was harder than it had been in ISIS areas, said Abdullah Shrem, a car parts trader turned smuggler who has saved almost 400 Yazidis. “They are bigger territories”.

He estimates non-Isis members are holding about 200 women and children in Syria and hoping to profit by selling them. He is creating new informant networks in order to track them down.

About 25 victims have been bought back from new non-ISIS captors during military operations by US-backed Syrian forces around ISIS’s last bastion in the north-east Syrian village Baghouz, Mr Shrem says.

Thousands of people have left Baghouz during the offensive, forcing military officials to admit that they underestimated their number. Escapers included a handful of Yazidis.

But for families who know their children have been trafficked out of ISIS areas, the clock is ticking. After five years of separation, young children may be unrecognisable or unaware who their real parents are. ISIS captors renamed many.

According to Amy Beam, an independent advocate, Yazidi children were originally sold in Isis markets for $500. Kidnappers have ramped up those prices.

Amina’s 13-year-old son is being ransomed for $30,000 somewhere near Baghouz. She has hope that “as long as he is alive he will come back one day”, but she has no way to pay. Her husband and 17-year-old son are still missing. ... d669740bfb

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:55 am
Author: Anthea
Nadia Calls For More Action To Help
Abducted Yazidi Women And Girls

Almost five years ago, Daesh attacked the Yazidi population in Sinjar, Northern Iraq. In doing so, Daesh initiated a genocidal campaign against the religious minority group and other religious minorities in Iraq (and Syria).

Their atrocities included “murder, kidnapping, hostage-taking, suicide bombings, enslavement, sale into or otherwise forced marriage, trafficking in persons, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence, recruitment and use of children”, forced transfer of population, destruction of cultural heritage and much more.

Despite a pro-active Global Coalition against Daesh, consisting of 79 partners, it has taken close to two years to make significant progress in October 2016. While Daesh is no longer the threat it once was, the fight continues. As the Global Coalition against Daesh continues its assault against Daesh and is currently engaged in combating the remnants of the terror group in Syria, there is hope that they will be able to locate thousands of abducted Yazidi women and girls. Many who were abducted in August 2014 are still missing.

This is why Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad, Yazda and their legal counsel Amal Clooney of Doughty Street Chambers have renewed calls for action by the Global Coalition against Daesh to ensure the safe rescue of the estimated 3,000 missing Yazidi women and girls. They are also leading calls to investigate the reported massacre of Yazidi women in Baghouz.

The Baghouz massacre was referenced in a recent report by Reuters. It reported on a fresh mass grave which was found to contain decapitated bodies of several people recently slaughtered by Daesh. Many of the female victims are believed to be the same Yazidi women and girls abducted by Daesh in Sinjar in August 2014.

The recent mass murder puts more pressure on the international community to find the remaining Yazidi women and girls. As Daesh is losing its last battles, there is a high risk that the fighters will try to dispose of the Yazidi women and girls, who are ultimately victim-witnesses to their atrocities. Their lives are in grave danger.

The advocates have also expressed concerns regarding reports that “Daesh members held in Syria have been released and that fighters transferred to Iraq have been sentenced to death following rushed trials that exclude victims and do not comply with international fair-trial standards.”

Indeed, the stories of Daesh fighters being sentenced to death in rushed trials and without the involvement of the victims is not a new allegation. Such an approach is not able to ensure any justice, not for the victims who are deprived their day in court and the right to tell their stories, or against the perpetrators who will not face responsibility for their crimes.

Similarly, there are no visible traces of justice for future generations who will bear the weight of the missed opportunity for truth and justice in the Daesh trials.

Furthermore, according to research into the capacity of the Iraqi courts to deal with Daesh fighters, it is clear that Iraqi courts do not have the necessary capacity – whether in terms of resources, expertise or otherwise. The most appropriate courts to investigate and prosecute Daesh fighters would be the International Criminal Court or an ad-hoc tribunal. Both are yet to be established. ... 3f68222ae2

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:00 am
Author: Anthea
Iraq opens Daesh mass grave in Yazidi region

United Nations assisting with the forensic work

Kojo, Iraq: Iraqi authorities on Friday opened a first mass grave containing victims of the Daesh group in the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar, where extremists brutally targeted the minority.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, a Yazidi who escaped ISIS and became an outspoken advocate for her community, attended the ceremony in her home village of Kojo to mark the start of exhumations.

The United Nations, which is assisting with the forensic work, says the first opening of a mass grave in the region will help to shed light on the fate those inhabitants killed by ISIS.

Hundreds of men and women from the village are believed to have been executed by the extremists when they took over the area in 2014.

The Yazidi people were targeted by the extremists who swept across northern Iraq in 2014 and seized their bastion of Sinjar near the border with Syria.

Daesh fighters slaughtered thousands of Yazidi men and boys, then abducted women and girls to be abused as sex slaves.

The Kurdish-speaking Yazidis follow an ancient religion rooted in Zoroastrianism, but Daesh considers them to be “apostates”.

The United Nations has said the Daesh actions could amount to genocide, and is investigating the group’s atrocities across Iraq.

Murad called at Friday’s event for Iraq’s central authorities and those in the Kurdistan region to “protect the mass graves” so that proof could be found of the “genocide of the Yazidis”.

“There will not be reconciliation with the Arab tribes of our region if their dignitaries don’t give the names of those who carried out the crimes so they can be judged,” she said.

The head of the UN investigative team Karim Khan said the exhumation marked an “important moment” for the probe, with 73 mass graves discovered so far in Sinjar alone.

“The road towards accountability is a long one, and many challenges lay ahead,” he said in a statement.

“Notwithstanding this, the spirit of cooperation between the survivor community and the government of Iraq is to be applauded.”

Daesh is currently battling to defend the last shred of its crumbling “caliphate” across the border in Syria in the face of Kurdish-led forces backed by an international coalition. ... 1.62709643

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:15 am
Author: Anthea
ISIS wives must be held accountable for Yazidi massacre
By Nurcan Baysal

This week I was reminded of August 2014, when Islamic State (ISIS) captured the town of Shingal in Iraqi Kurdistan. I quickly joined a group of activists that rushed to support the Yazidis who had escaped Shingal, helping to establish camps in Iraq and Turkey

For more than a year, I worked as a volunteer in Yazidi camps in both countries and met many Yazidi women with horrific stories. Some of them left children on Mount Sinjar, some had been raped by ISIS members and then shunned by their families as a result, some had seen family members killed in front of them.

They were difficult times. There were shortages of food and water. The Yazidi women were constantly wailing, their voices still echo in my ears today. They would show me family photos of life before ISIS, telling me of what they called the good old days. The Yazidi women said they had two lives; their old life before ISIS, and their new life after ISIS.

I visited Yazidi villages closer to the city of Mosul. Baadre was one of them, the biggest Yazidi village in that area. Many Yazidi women and girls took shelter in Baadre during the winter of 2015, looked after by Yazidi sheikh Mir Amar. It was during a cold night in January 2015 when I met Ilwin, a Yazidi woman who was raped several times by ISIS militants. Her family bought Ilwin from ISIS, but ISIS did not sell her sisters. Ilwin told me that ISIS had put them in a house in Mosul guarded by the wives of ISIS fighters.

Sometimes, she said, these wives helped ISIS members rape the Yazidi women, sometimes they tortured Yazidi women. Ilwin drew a plan of the house in Mosul where her sisters were forcibly kept, asking for my help. I gave it to the Kurdistan Regional Authority Human Rights Centre.

The nights were long in Baadre. We slept in a large room with the Yazidi women and children. It is hard to describe the sounds of their nightmares during the night. I will never forget those nights. I would often wake up to their moans and would look to the lights of Mosul, still controlled by ISIS, and wonder, “Where are you God?”

This week, watching videos from the Syrian village of Baghouz, where the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are fighting to capture the last patch of ISIS territory, I remembered my days with the Yazidis. In these videos, we see ISIS members and their wives expressing no regrets about what they did to Yazidis. Some of the wives even defend the enslavement of the Yazidis and say it is allowed by Islam.

There are not only Iraqis and Turks among the wives, but there are also Finns, French, Norwegians, Afghans, British, Canadian, Dutch, Russians, Belgians, Indonesians, Filipinas, Bosnians, Chechens and other nationals.

In one of the videos, an ISIS wife from Turkey, Fatma Yılmaz, who was married to five different ISIS fighters in five years, talks comfortably about the massacre and its rapes, looting and killings. She said she joined ISIS to have a comfortable life. A comfortable life killing others!

In another video published by the Daily Mail, an ISIS wife defends the jihadists’ rape and murder of Yazidi women, saying it is “allowed in the Quran”.

Now, we see people debating whether or not these wives should be taken to court. Some wives say they are innocent. While listening to these debates, I remember those who sacrificed their lives to stop ISIS. I remember the mass graves, filled with thousands of Yazidis.

I remember the Yazidi women aged over 40 who were buried alive because they were seen as useless. I remember the small Yazidi children who were sold off and lost their families. I remember the Yazidis who were beheaded. I remember Ilwin and the others. Their cries and moans still echo in my ears today.

Last week, another woman who had fled Baghouz, who said she was British and converted to Islam seven years ago, said that the caliphate is "not yet over". Without bringing the ISIS wives and those who assisted the jihadists to justice, ISIS will never be over. Many Yazidi women and children are still being held captive by ISIS, still waiting for freedom and justice.

Thousands of Yazidis buried in mass graves are waiting for justice

Everyone who supported ISIS, including the wives, had a choice. But they chose to be party to a massacre, they chose to be part of a genocide, they chose to be on the side of evil, not goodness.

If the world wants to stop bearing witness to such horrors, then the international community must act to make the perpetrators of these crimes accountable. ... i-massacre

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:49 am
Author: Anthea
Clashes between Iraqi Army and
YBS again heat up in western Shingal

Clashes continued between Iraqi soldiers and a Yezidi armed group in western Shingal on Tuesday after a failed attempt to mediate tensions following a deadly skirmish on Sunday

At least one Iraqi soldier was injured and there are unconfirmed reports that a second was killed.

Vehicles belonging to forces on both sides were burnt, Rudaw’s Tahsin Qasim reported from Shingal.

Tensions are high between the Iraqi Army and the Shingal Protection Units (YBS), a Yezidi force with ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The two sides clashed on Sunday night with each blaming the other for instigating the incident.

Representatives from the Iraqi Army and the YBS met in Hasawik village with the Iraqis telling the YBS to leave because they are an illegal armed force. The YBS refused and accused the army of hampering free movement between the Shingal area and Western Kurdistan, the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Syria.

The new clash erupted after their meeting failed. There are three Iraqi Army divisions stationed in the Shingal area, raising fears among the local population that the army is planning some activity.

Sherwan Dubardani, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi parliament from Mosul, told Rudaw that smuggling of weapons, oil, and cigarettes in the Shingal region was adding to insecurity. He accused the PKK of being involved.

Haydar Shasho commands the Ezidikhan Protection Force and is not aligned with the Iraqi forces or the YBS. He confirmed the clashes to Rudaw English on Tuesday, but he could not provide casualty figures.

“The situation varies from place to place and village by village,” Shasho added, explaining that they all have different disputes and grievances.

He claimed that 80 percent of the people in Shingal don’t want a PKK or PKK-affiliated presence in Shingal.

“We understand that the situation in Shingal ends when the PKK leaves,” Shasho said.

He underscored that his forces are not involved in the recent events.

“Ezidikhan forces have not been involved in the clashes over the past days,” he said.

The YBS used to be on good terms with the Iraqi government who was paying salaries of their fighters in Shingal throughout part of the conflict with the Islamic State (ISIS). That ended last year and previous Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on all foreign fighters to leave the country.

In Shingal various armed factions operate including the YBS, Hashd al-Shaabi, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Peshmerga, local police and security, federal police, and provincial authorities.

Shingal is a disputed or Kurdistani are that is claimed by Erbil and Baghdad. Since the events of September 2017, Shingal officially has been in the security portfolio of the Iraq.

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:01 pm
Author: Anthea
Despite ISIS defeat: Hundreds
of children will forever be missing

Baghouz. With the final offensive against the terrorist militia “Islamic State” (ISIS) in Syria hopes were high that thousands of missing Ezidi women and children would be freed. Almost five years ago, the ISIS terrorist organization kidnapped and enslaved up to 7,000 Ezidis from the northern Iraqi Shingal region and committed a genocide against the civilian population.

Many assumed that the majority of those missing persons were held in the last ISIS stronghold Baghuz in eastern Syria. The joy was great when 60 Ezidis in Baghuz were able to escape from captivity, which nurtured hope for the time being. But the fate of hundreds of children seems to be irreversibly sealed. A brutal reality which the battered Ezidi minority must face and which the international community has to accept blame for.

According to an official list, the number of Ezidis still missing stands at about 3,000, most of whom are women and children. The enslavement, systematic rape and trafficking of Ezidis was an essential part of the IS ideology that celebrated the “reintroduction of the Islamic tradition of slavery” in the IS magazine “Dabiq”.

The abduction of thousands of children and the mass rape of Ezidi women and girls was planned from the beginning of the genocide. The New York Times described the policy of the ISIS as the “theology of rape”.

Ezidi children were separated from their families and transferred to IS households in Syria and Iraq, were they were supposed to be educated as Muslims. The transfer of children to another group by force constitutes a genocide offence according to the UN Convention. The IS had the intention to deprive them of their Ezidi identity. In captivity they were forbidden to speak their mother tongue and given new Arabic Islamic names.

The example of raped Ezidi girls shows how strictly the ISIS oriented itself by its interpretation of the Quran and the Hadith. The preachers of the ISIS declared that the rape of Ezidi girls was only allowed from the age of nine – and thus gave paedophilia a licence. Freed girls and women unanimously report how IS members followed this doctrine. “He tied my hands [to the bed] and gagged me. Then he knelt next to the bed and bowed down to prayer,” a 12-year-old Ezidi girl said. “After the prayer he raped me. Then he prayed again.” Female IS members who also abused enslaved Ezidi women in their households legitimize the enslavement and rape of women and girls to this day.

The Ezidi boys, on the other hand, were educated to become new jihadists. Daily indoctrination with violence glorifying videos of beheadings and suicide attacks were supposed to take away their inhibitions and break their will. When the boys refused, the IS punished them with physical and mental torture. Many of these children witnessed their parents being murdered before their eyes. A trauma that these young souls could hardly cope with and made them susceptible to manipulation. Several of these abused Ezidi boys were sent to the frontline by the IS in Iraq and Syria as fighters and suicide bombers. In 2015, the IS published a propaganda video featuring two kidnapped Ezidi boys aged 11 and 12 committing suicide attacks against Iraqi troops. The video was released by the IS on a Ezidi holiday. Both boys died.

Years of physical and psychological abuse resulted in many of these children hardly being able to speak their mother tongue and sometimes not remembering the names of their parents or their villages. The younger the children were at the time of their abduction, the less likely they were to be identified as displaced Ezidis. Among the tens of thousands of ISIS members who have surrendered to the Syrian-Kurdish forces in Baghuz, there are still hundreds of these children. There are no efforts to identify them. They are left to their fate and the ISIS is given a victory. Even if they are defeated militarily – they managed to turn hundreds of the “unbelieving” Ezidis into Muslims.

Recognizing young children after almost five years of imprisonment also presents a challenge for the parents – if they survived. Often, however, they do not get this opportunity at all because no photos are taken of the children who are with the ISIS families and have surrendered. DNA samples are not being collected either which would allow to identify them. The fact that many of the missing children could be identified with simple pictures is shown by examples such as those of the ÊP editorial staff.

Within a few hours, family members of several children, who fortunately remembered their origins and had been freed in Baghuz, were found. In the case of the boy Farhad, the ÊP editorial team took exactly nine minutes to find the boy’s uncle and mother. The boy’s picture was sufficient for this. In the case of the 10-year-old Dilbirin, it took ÊP editors eight minutes to locate a cousin of him who has been part of the Baden-Württemberg program for traumatized Ezidi women.

However, many children can only be identified by a DNA test. Such a broad DNA search for missing Ezidi children will, however, not be conducted. The expense for the international coalition would be too high and the interest in the Ezidi community is too little. The Ezidis have neither the means to carry out such efforts themselves, nor do they have the political influence to demand such a mammoth task from the international community.

Family members therefore rarely succeed in freeing their youngest members if their trail has not been lost. In one of the most recent cases, an uncle followed his nephew’s trail until he was able to buy him back for a horrendous sum of 30,000 US dollars. 10-year-old Kiran spent half his life in slavery. He also was renamed Ahmed. His father, Kiran says, was killed by ISIS terrorists before his eyes, his sister sold as a slave. His mother, who was first taken with him to Baghuz in Syria, died shortly afterwards. Kiran’s uncle followed his nephew’s lead until the opportunity arose to buy him out.

Rarely can families raise such sums once they have the opportunity to buy their relatives’ freedom. The “Office for the Rescue of Kidnapped and Abducted Yezidis” in the Kurdish city of Duhok, which is subordinated to the Prime Minister’s Office, was set up specifically for this purpose to deal with this issue and pay the ransom. In the past, the Kurdish government boasted several times about the office’s work.

Affected families, however, had to pay 10,000 US dollars in advance before the office sprung into action. This sum cannot be raised by many of the impoverished families who still live in refugee camps today. Without the help of Ezidi NGOs, which advance the money, paying the ransom would be almost impossible for many families. If the ransom payment went smoothly, the 10,000 US dollars would be paid back to the families. In at least three cases this did not happen. The rampant corruption in the region does not stop at that office either. The Iraqi government has also made no effort to help the Ezidis find and buy their relatives kidnapped by the ISIS.

According to unconfirmed reports by activists, Ezidi women and children were also kidnapped to other Islamic countries. Several activists claimed to have statements and reports confirming this. The place of refuge for many ISIS fighters and enslaved Ezidi women and girls is Turkey. The women and girls are also said to have been taken to Saudi Arabia. However, there has been no confirmed case so far.

Overrunning villages in the 21st century, enslaving thousands of people, raping thousands of young girls and offering them for sale on the open street, torturing young children and bragging about it openly in a magazine, was considered impossible by many or too much to imagine. But that is exactly what happened. Before the eyes of the international community. Now, the same international community is abandoning thousands of children to their fate as the global public does not seem willing to help them.

It has not been the first attempt in the Ezidi history of destroying their existence and torturing them psychologically. Again and again, women and children have been abducted in the past centuries to be brought to an Islamic environment and to be deprived of their identity.

Therefore, during the current and ongoing genocide, Ezidis have no choice but to painfully accept this reality. Ezidis, who like Essa are longingly waiting for the return of their relatives, will be bitterly disappointed. This genocide will also persecute them for generations to come. There can only be justice if the perpetrators are brought to justice for their crimes: before a special UN tribunal. ... -60xgyzX8Y

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:57 pm
Author: Anthea
Yazidi former slaves emerge from the
Islamic State and want to tell their stories

Duhok, Iraq: Nine-year-old Ayham Azad’s family believe his life under Islamic State could have been a lot worse had it not been for the American wife of a terrorist sniper

Captured by the group in his home town of Tel Banat in northern Iraq in August 2014, the boy from the long-suffering Yazidi minority was sold several times and eventually bought by Samantha Elhassani, who he says cared for him like her own son.

Anas Azad, 4, hugs his nine-year-old brother, Ayham Azad, at their home in Sharya village, Iraq. The boys were were kidnapped by ISIS and forced to live with them.Credit:Kate Geraghty

While the US government does not share the Yazidi family’s admiration for Elhassani – she is now on remand back home on terrorism charges – Ayham's twist of fortune ensured that he did not join the 7000 Yazidis killed or the 3000 who remain missing.

The plight of the Yazidis is one of the primary ways in which ISIS’s predations upon the people of Iraq and Syria live on, even after the collapse of its so-called state. ISIS suffered its final territorial defeat in the Syrian village of Baghouz last week.

Yazidis who were captured and held as slaves by ISIS continue to flow out of the group’s former territory, bringing with them stories of the dark final days. Thousands are still missing, hundreds of thousands live in camps, afraid to return home. Some are still being held by smugglers who hope to profit from their sale back to relatives.

For Ayham the lingering effects are psychological. His uncle, Tahsin Shahwany, says the boy is smart at school but suffers what sounds like post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Still when thunderstorms come in the evenings, it frightens him and he cries. We’ve asked him, ‘Why are you crying?’ He says he’s scared. He says these are aeroplanes in the sky launching air strikes.”

Before he went to live with Elhassani, Ayham was kept by a nasty ISIS fighter named Abu Basir who used to beat him and once split his scalp open.

Elhassani didn’t or couldn’t shield him from all ISIS atrocities. The boy appeared, alongside the American woman’s own son, in an IS propaganda video promoting so-called ISIS “cubs” - young fighters trained from an early age.

Journalist David Wroe visits a camp in northern Iraq where about 40,000 Yazidi people are living in cold and wet conditions, too frightened to return to their former home.

Shahwany says his nephew saw friends killed. Once he saw an ISIS member put a hose in a Yazidi boy’s mouth and flood his throat until he drowned. He flinches when anyone raises their hand around him.

But he said Elhassani provided vital stability and care, making him repeat all of his own family members’ names every day so he would not forget them.

Elhassani has said she was tricked by her Moroccan-born husband into moving to Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the Islamic State, with her two children, whose safety she felt was imperiled if she resisted.

She is now facing charges in the US of providing material support to IS and two of its members. Her lawyer, Thomas Durkin, said this consisted of buying sets of binoculars for her husband and his brother during a transit through Hong Kong.

“She’s essentially being prosecuted as a proxy for her husband,” Durkin said. “The only person who supported ISIS was her dead husband.”

Her husband, Moussana Elhassani, had become an IS sniper but was killed in an air strike in late 2017, shortly after which Elhassani gave herself up along with her children and Ayham to Kurdish forces. That is how Ayham eventually made it home.

Shahwany says he had to pay $US8500 ($12,000) to smugglers to get Ayham’s younger brother Anas back after he was also kidnapped by ISIS. He believes the smuggling network is deeply corrupt but he had little choice but to hand the money over.

Yazidi woman Ilham Dakhel Ali was just 13 when she was kidnapped by ISIS from her home town of Tel Qar near Sinjar. She was sold to a senior Saudi ISIS leader in Raqqa and his Syrian wife, who was just a year older than Ilham herself.

The Saudi was an angry and violent man who once hit her on the head with a keychain, leaving a scar where hair still doesn’t grow. Asked if he ever abused her sexually, she nods, but does not elaborate.

After the Saudi man was killed and the rest of the family fled in January, Ilham was able to leave Baghouz, which by then was the group’s remaining stronghold.

“A lot of them towards the end regretted they had joined ISIS and they would say, ‘We would have been better if we were safe in our countries and we want to go back to our countries,” she said. “At some point, some of them hated ISIS more than the civilians hated ISIS.”

But she heard other ISIS members in and around Baghouz talking about how they still had people left in the Iraqi city of Mosul and how “we will never give up this idea”.

That is why many Yazidis remain fearful. Shahwany said the underlying extremist ideology still remained a strong current across Iraq and Syria.

“No Yazidi life is safe because ISIS is not finished. It’s not far-fetched that ISIS comes back in a year,” he said.

Link to Article - Photos: ... 518da.html

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:04 pm
Author: Anthea
Roughly 30 Yazidi Bodies Exhumed in Iraq

In 2014, Islamic State militants launched a brutal attack on Yazidi people in northern Iraq

Survivors say militants often forced men to dig mass graves before killing them and throwing them in. Women and children were captured and sold into forced labor or sexual slavery.

Asia was 12 when she was taken five years ago.

"They came around noon and told us to pack," she said, a few minutes walk from the mass grave in her village, Kocho."They said they would take us to the mountains to be free and brought us to a school. First, they took our valuables, our mobile phones and our ID cards."

In recent weeks, Iraqi and United Nations workers have exhumed what they believe to be the remains of 30 bodies of Yazidi victims of ISIS from one of the dozens of mass graves in the region.

Thousands were killed and thousands more remain missing in what the United Nations has called a possible genocide

Asia escaped only weeks ago as the militants lost their last bit of land in a bitterly fought battle for Baghuz, Syria. The trauma is only starting to sink in.

"They were cruel," she explained."They starved me, beat me, cut my hands and tortured me."

"Yazidi" is both an ethnic and a religious identity, and ISIS often forced slaves to abandon their language and religion.

"They told me if I didn't pray in their way, I would get no food and water," she continued."I had no choice but to pretend to pray in front of them."


Activists blame ISIS militants, saying they hope increased international recognition of their crimes as a genocide will spark international action to punish the perpetrators and help the Yazidi people recover.

But they also blame the Iraqi government for not protecting them in the first place and not solving the continuing crisis. Most of the roughly 400,000 Yazidi people in Iraq have now been displaced for years.

Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murat was also kidnapped from Kocho as a child and sold as a sex slave by ISIS. She escaped and went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize for her work advocating against sexual violence as a weapon of war.

"This genocide, those mass graves and all this destruction is a result of the ugly and barbaric ISIS ideology," she told a room full of Yazidi mourners and activists in Kocho. "And our rights have been suppressed and betrayed."


U.N. officials say they have sent the remains located to Baghdad for identification and plan to return to mass grave sites to continue their work in May. The hope is to eventually exhume all the bodies and return them to surviving family members for burial.

At the gravesite, some mourners weep loudly, while others like Asia sit quietly, appearing stunned.

"We didn't believe they could do this," Asia said. "The militants told us they were taking us to the mountains to be free, and then they destroyed us."

Link to Article - Photos: ... 52160.html

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:45 am
Author: Anthea
Yezidi Boy Recalls Horrific Story
After Surviving ISIS in Baghouz

A young Yezidi boy who has recently been freed from the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria’s Baghouz says the jihadists were preparing him and many other children for suicide attacks before they were rescued

Mazin Salim was abducted by ISIS in August 2014 when the terrorist group attacked his village near Sinjar in northern Iraq. He was soon separated from his parents who are still missing.

Speaking to BasNews after his rescue and arrival to the Kurdistan Region, Mazin said the ISIS militants were brainwashing the children and forcing them to wear explosive vests and drive car bombs to attack the Syrian Kurdish forces who were leading to liberate Baghouz.

“They taught us how to drive a car, use Kalashnikov [AK-47], BKC, RPG and other weapons. They were forcing children to wear explosive vests and blow themselves up in the war,” Mazin told BasNews.

He further explained that the militants were promising the children to go to “heaven” with everything available if they died in the war.

Mazin remembered his long and horrific journey from Sinjar to Tel Affar, Mosul, Ramadi, Hajin and Baghouz. He said there were times the jihadists beat, humiliate, and prevented the Yezidis from eating or drinking for days.

The young boy said ISIS put all the children after they abducted them in religious classes where they learned about the Islamic Sharia law. He attended the classes for years in different places.

ISIS is now defeated and its last pocket in Syria is already liberated. However, from over 6,000 Yezidis, more than 2,500 are still missing. Mazin said the jihadists were re-locating the Yezidi abductees wherever they they came under attack. “Of course, wherever they were taken, the Yezidis were subjected to hardest works and continued humiliation,” he added.

Finally, as Mazin recalls, they were in Baghouz when the ISIS jihadists had to leave the group of 20 Yezidis and retreat from one front of the battle. Then they were liberated by the Syrian Kurdish forces and sent back to Kurdistan Region. ... s.facebook

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:59 pm
Author: Anthea
Let The Children Be Yazidis

In 2015, the Iraqi legislature introduced a new law, the National Identity Card Law, to say that a child born to one Muslim parent, even if the child is born out of rape, has to be registered as Muslim

The alternative is for the child to be undocumented. Such law is highly controversial and as religious minorities struggle for their survival in Iraq, the law will only prolong their suffering and prevent them from being able to rebuild their lives.

Haifa, a 36-year-old woman from Iraq's Yazidi community who was taken as a sex slave by Daesh fighters, stands on a street during an interview with AFP journalists in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk on November 17, 2016.

According to Article 26(2) of the 2015 National Identity Card Law, “children... follow the religion of Islam from the Muslim parents.” The law does not appear to say anything in relation to cases where a minority religious woman or girl is raped and therefore enables the interpretation that these provisions still apply.

Article 26(1) states that “a non-Muslim may change his religion in accordance with the law.” However, this applies only to the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam and not the other way around.

The alternative of not registering the child is not an alternative at all. If the child is undocumented, the child is not able to access various services, including education.

The law, which is contrary to the international standard on the right to freedom of religion or belief, is extremely controversial, especially in light of the genocidal campaign unleashed by Daesh against religious minorities in Iraq, including Yazidis and Christians.

Daesh, apart from a litany of barbaric atrocities, has been infamous of using rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war, and as a method of its genocidal campaign against religious minorities. Indeed, as indicated in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Rwandan case of Prosecutor v Akayesu, rape and sexual violence constitute a genocidal method under Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:

    In patriarchal societies, where membership of a group is determined by the identity of the father, an example of a measure intended to prevent births within a group is the case where, during rape, a woman of the said group is deliberately impregnated by a man of another group, with the intent to have her give birth to a child who will consequently not belong to its mother’s group … rape can be a measure intended to prevent births when the person raped refuses subsequently to procreate, in the same way, that members of a group can be led, through threats of trauma, not to procreate.” (Prosecutor v Akayesu (Judgment) ICTR-96-4-T (2 September 1998), 507.)

This is precisely what has been happening in the self-proclaimed Daesh caliphate. Women and girls were subjected to horrendous and daily abuse at the hands of Daesh fighters who they were forcibly married to. Some of these rapes resulted in pregnancies. In such cases, under the 2015 National Identity Card Law, the children born to Yazidi women or girls and Daesh fighters, who are Muslim, would have to be registered as Muslim.

This has a severe and lasting punishing effect on the future of these children and their Yazidi families.

If the child is registered as a Muslim, and cannot grow up in the religion and culture of the Yazidi community, what future can the child have?

If the child is a Muslim, would she or he be accepted into the Yazidi community? This is very unlikely. And indeed, media outlets have reported the heartbreaking dilemma that some Yazidi survivors of Daesh atrocities have had to face - to keep their children born out of rape and raise them as Muslim, away from their families and communities, or leave the children (in orphanages) and return to their communities.

In order to address the issue, it is crucial to have Iraqi law amended to ensure that children born to Yazidi women and girls and Daesh fighters would not, by default, be registered Muslim, but could be registered as Yazidi and be able to grow up in the religion and culture of their mothers.

The law should be amended as it is contrary to Iraq’s obligations under international law, especially the right to freedom of religion or belief as outlined in Article 18 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Furthermore, such law is contrary to the various provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (although the Iraqi government has made several reservations that, among others, make CEDAW's equality provisions not binding upon Iraq).

Such an amendment to the law could help the survivors of Daesh atrocities rebuild their lives and guarantee their children a better future. Furthermore, such an amendment could also help all minority women and girls and their children born out of rape as it would acknowledge the victim’s religion and allow the children to grow up in their mothers’ religion.

There is no reason why Iraqi law should protect the right of the Daesh fighters or the rights of rapists. In order to address the use of rape and sexual violence, in conflict or in peace, the Iraqi government needs to make a clear stance against it. Amending the law would be a step towards that.

Let the children be Yazidis. ... e-yazidis/

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:05 pm
Author: Anthea
Shingal mass graves will continue
to be documented by UN

Joint UNITAD and Iraqi government teams begin work on exhuming a Yezidi mass grave in the village of Shingal

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The work to exhume suspected mass graves in the southern Shingal village of Kocho will continue into April, according to the United Nations Investigative Team for the Promotion of Accountability for Crimes Committed by ISIS (UNITAD).

It confirmed "ongoing forensic and technical support for the teams of the Government of Iraq" in a statement released on Monday.

Mohammed Taher al-Tamimi, the general director of Iraq's NGO Directorate and Chairman of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers Operations Room, ensures cooperation between the UN team and Baghdad.

“We are proud to say that the first exhumation operation in Kojo [Kocho] was delivered successfully, in line with all legal requirements and international best practices, and in coordination with the specialists from UNITAD," he said in the UNITAD statement.

The work "is of great concern to all Iraqis," explained Tamimi.

He said in a statement issued by his office on Saturday that they have "successfully conducted" coordination efforts with UNITAD.

"The exhuming of mass graves in Sinjar is a beginning to achieve transitional justice," added Tamimi who updates colleagues in the Council of Ministers Operations Room.

They were represented by the Iraqi Forensic Medicine Department, Ministry of Health and Environment, and the National Group for Mass Graves.

The efforts on the ground in Kocho began on March 15. The UNITAD team has met with Iraqi spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, government officials in both Baghdad and Erbil, as well as local Yezidi officials and survivors.

UNITAD Special Adviser and Head of the Investigative Team Karim A. A. Khan QC said they are "delighted with the spirit of cooperation, commitment and professionalism" among the Iraqi teams.

"This next phase of exhumations in Kojo shows that the national and international communities are united in support of accountability for Iraqis of all faiths, and all communities," he said in the statement.

The next phase of exhumation work will be coordinated with the assistance of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

Justice and recognition are two barriers to return especially for Yezidis who suffered genocide at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS).

Gathering evidence up to international standards of ISIS's atrocities is necessary for global recognition and justice.

"The UNITAD team will include the head of its forensic unit as well as the senior lawyer responsible for Sinjar investigations," the statement added.

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:24 pm
Author: Anthea
After ISIS: Yazidi boys who survived
horrors face long road to healing

The Islamic State’s so-called caliphate may have come to an end. But the terror ISIS inflicted on Iraq’s Yazidi community is forever seared into the minds of young boys conscripted into the jihadists’ ranks. They’re part of a generation whose fathers were executed, mothers and sisters enslaved, and who themselves were relentlessly and brutally indoctrinated

“It took us just two days to learn how to use a rifle, but the Quran took forever,” one boy says. “They beat us if we didn’t learn the religion quickly enough.”

As the conscripts make their way back to what’s left of their community, the healing process promises to be long. Help is scant. In northern Syria, Ziad Avdalo runs the Yazidi House, which shelters survivors until they can cross back to Iraq. The trauma and indoctrination of these boys, he says, renders caring for them a delicate task.

He slams the international community for failing to support the survivors, and opposes the Yazidi exodus for asylum in the West. Yazidi families – or what is left of them in Iraq – are the best-equipped to nurse the boys back to health, he says. “It is better they stay in their land, among their people,” says Mr. Avdalo. “We have a lot of experience now when it comes to healing.”

Confronted with a nephew who curls up into a ball and cries non-stop, Jihad does what many parents would do: loads him in the car, sits him on his lap, and allows him to “drive” down the roads of a dusty camp in northern Iraq in the pursuit of a fleeting moment of joy.

The internally displaced persons (IDP) camp became home to Jihad and his relatives after Islamic State militants attacked the Yazidi religious minority in the Sinjar mountain range in August 2014 – in what the embattled community remembers as its 74th genocide.

The boy crying unconsolably is Dilber. He reached what is left of his family in mid-March after fleeing Al-Baghouz, a speck of land on the banks of the Euphrates in Syria where ISIS suffered defeat at the hands of a U.S.-backed coalition of Kurdish and Arab forces.

“When he is in a good mood, he is a fun boy, you’d never believe he was held by ISIS,” explains Jihad, a day laborer who was away from Sinjar when ISIS attacked.

ISIS’s so-called caliphate may have come to an end, but the terror these jihadists inflicted on the Yazidi community is forever seared into the minds of boys like 10-year-old Dilber and his older brother Dildar, 15. The siblings each look a good three years younger than their age, except for their eyes.

They form part of a generation of Yazidis whose fathers were executed, mothers and sisters enslaved, and who themselves were so relentlessly indoctrinated and beaten that some ended their lives, taking part in suicide attacks. The journey of healing promises to be long, and help is scant.

Dilber and Dildar spent the final days of the caliphate in March sleeping in ditches, drinking leftover wash-water, and begging civilian families for one daily portion of rank soup. Both struggle to speak Kurdish after years of being commanded in Arabic.

“It took us just two days to learn how to use a rifle, but the Quran took forever,” says Dildar. “They beat us if we didn’t learn the religion quickly enough. I have memorized about a quarter of the Quran. The ones who failed to memorize the Quran would be beaten with sticks and water hoses.”

His cousin, Hani, is in better shape physically but is likewise familiar with the toll that life under ISIS can take psychologically. Hani spent more than a year in captivity before being rescued through smugglers along with his mother.

“It takes a long time to learn your language and get rid of their ideology,” says Hani. “Sometimes ISIS ideas pop into your head: Memorize the Quran! Forget your infidel family!”

Dildar (l), a former Yazidi conscript into ISIS, and his cousin Hani, who spent less time in ISIS captivity before being rescued, at an IDP camp in northern Iraq in March. “They beat us if we didn’t learn the religion quickly enough,” says Dildar, 15, who spent his final days in the caliphate sleeping in ditches. “I have memorized about a quarter of the Quran.”

As the cousins – dressedRescuing the boys in matching Juventus outfits – compare notes, a steady stream of well-wishers pour into the white small caravan where they live to celebrate their arrival. Others inquire about still-missing relatives.

Rescuing the boys

Ziad Avdalo is a member of a team that has been rescuing Yazidi boys from ISIS for over three years. On the outskirts of Amuda in northern Syria, he runs the Yazidi House, which shelters survivors until they can cross back to Iraq.

The trauma and indoctrination of these boys, he says, renders caring for them a delicate task. “We have boys who have arrived here more fundamentalist than ISIS,” says Mr. Avdalo. “Those who are very dogmatic we deal with very lightly and simply; until their memories come back.”

Some survivors are housed among Yazidi villagers in Syria until they can make the journey home. For many it was tough to establish where that is.

“One six-year-old boy didn’t even know his own name, so we nicknamed him Judi,” says Mr. Avdalo. “Another didn’t know the name of his father.”

Mr. Avdalo, himself a Yazidi, slams the international community for failing to support the survivors, but firmly believes that Yazidi families – or what is left of them in Iraq – are the best-equipped to nurse them back to health. “If anyone cared about the Yazidi community this never would have happened,” he says flatly.

The Autonomous Administration, a proto-government operating in northeast Syria, grants the Yazidi House about $1,000 per month, but that barely covers costs. The Kurdish Red Crescent helps by providing basic medical treatment.

But with Syria already confronting waves of displacement since 2011, there was no targeted response focused on the Yazidis freed by the fall of Baghouz, humanitarian workers in northeast Syria say.

In northern Iraq, home to dozens of camps for displaced people, resources are limited. Dohuk has only a handful of psychologists who initially focused on helping Yazidi women but now provide help to boys as well. Their interventions are irregular, complicated by the fact that victims are widely scattered.

Many Yazidis have left Iraq, finding asylum in Australia, the United States, and Germany, among other nations. It is an exodus opposed by many community leaders.

“Once they are gone, they are [spiritually] annihilated,” says Mr. Avdalo. “It is better they stay in their land, among their people. We have a lot of experience now when it comes to healing.”

The remnants of Kocho

At the IDP camp in Iraq, photographs of the missing – especially women and children who had a better shot at survival – adorn the walls of every caravan. The camp is home to several natives of Kocho, one of the Yazidi villages ISIS attacked in the Sinjar mountains.

Kocho, a disputed territory claimed both by the Kurdish Regional Government and authorities in Baghdad, had a population of nearly 2,000 people before the rise of ISIS. Its exact size today is unknown.

A series of massacres unfolded there Aug. 15, 2014, after village leader Ahmed Jasso refused to succumb to the jihadists’ pressure to convert to Islam en masse. He was the first to be shot behind a school where ISIS had rounded up the Yazidis.

Hundreds of men were executed in quick succession – just one reason why so many of the boys who survived five years under ISIS are coming back to highly traumatized and broken homes, where women significantly outnumber the men.

Among them is 15-year-old Bassim, who found shelter in the Yazidi House before rejoining relatives in Iraq last month. Like other boys who underwent military and religious training under ISIS, he recalled being beaten with sticks and berated on a daily basis.

“We didn’t say a word about it, but through it all we thought of our families,” he says. “There are some who fought and some who blew themselves up. I always had hope I would get out. And every defeat that ISIS suffered raised these hopes higher.”

Bassim’s father, Qassim, is likewise a survivor. He survived the Kocho massacre – only one of 19 men to do so when ISIS took Sinjar. The fate of Bassim’s mother and older brother remains unknown – although there are reasons to be hopeful because Bassim spotted him in Baghouz.

“Many Yazidi children are mixed in with foreign ISIS families or even Syrian and Iraqi families, but nobody cares to check where they are,” says Qassim. “They’re scattered in IDP camps in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Some may have even ended up in the Gulf.”

It's a plausible scenario, says Mr. Avdalo. “The number of missing is in the thousands,” he estimates.

Saadu, a native of Sinjar City who is staying now with relatives in Dohuk, Iraq, was only 10 when ISIS captured him and his mother. Her fate remains unknown. “It was non-stop training,” he says of life under the jihadists. “Weapons training and Sharia. They called us infidels but we told ourselves that they were the infidels. We had never heard of someone being beheaded for his beliefs.”

Cubs of the caliphate

At the Iraqi camp and Yazidi House in Syria, Yazidi teenage boys recount being forced to renounce their religion and assume a new identity as “Cubs of the Caliphate.” The staccato testimonies, glazed eyes, and malnourished bodies of those who left Baghouz in recent weeks hint at the depth of their trauma.

The massacres in Sinjar were followed by years of abuse and indoctrination. The pain of separation from their families was compounded by the hardships of war – many survived the sieges of ISIS strongholds Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

Stunted growth tells the tale of years of hunger.

A lean boy with spiky black hair, Saadu, recalls fighting in 2017 on the front lines of Raqqa, the caliphate’s capital. Two of his peers – siblings from Tel Kasab – carried out suicide attacks defending Mosul that very same year. They were hailed as heroes in ISIS propaganda material.

“They showed us these videos and told us, ‘These are real Muslims, they are going to heaven,’ ” recalls Saadu, who lost a thumb to shrapnel. A more painful example of the group’s successful indoctrination hit closer to home: his sister. She snitched on him when he wanted to escape. He spent 10 days detained in a cell so small he could not lie down.

“Her ideology shifted,” explains Saadu, who channels part of his anger into online war games and believes ISIS is anything but over. “They have lost control of the ground, but they and their convictions remain.”

Saadu has the fortune of being with relatives in a comfortable apartment in Dohuk. Most of the returnees are living in basic caravans and tents in Iraq with impoverished families that struggle to cope.

Mazen looks no more than 10, but has already turned 15. With melancholy eyes and a soft voice he describes how hunger has been a constant companion – the heavy physical routine of military training under ISIS was coupled with the most spartan and sporadic of meals.

In Baghouz, he slept in a ditch under a thin tent along with another Yazidi boy in the hope of dodging air strikes. “I wish it had been a tent like this,” he says, sitting next to heater in a wet wool tent, unable to shake off the cold. “The rain poured in and you could not see anything.”

The boy has no knowledge of what became of his father – although other relatives presume him to be dead. “All I know is that Sinjar was attacked by ISIS and is now uninhabitable,” he says. “What happened to the Yazidis, I want to happen to them. I don’t want trials for them. When they slaughtered Yazidis, they did not offer them a trial. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” ... to-healing

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:00 pm
Author: Anthea
Iraqi boy risks all to rescue
Yazidi woman from Islamic State

With his slender frame and gentle smile, Diya Hamad seems an unlikely self-appointed rescuer of Yazidis from the barbarous Islamic State (ISIS). But that is precisely what the 16-year-old from the Iraqi city of Samarra is. “He is a hero,” declared Nabil Hassan, the manager of the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria where tens of thousands of Iraqis fleeing ISIS have been sheltering ever since the jihadis killed and plundered their way through Iraq in 2014

Today, al-Hol is home to many more thousands of refugees, the wives and children of ISIS fighters who made their last unsuccessful stand in the small village of Baghouz. Among them remain an unknown number of Yazidi women they enslaved and abused until they were finally vanquished by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on March 22.

Until a month ago, Hamad was among them, hanging on in Baghouz to help a Yazidi woman escape, knowing that he might not be so lucky. But he was. He survived and his mission to rescue the woman called Salwa has been accomplished. She is back with her community.

Hamad’s tale of bravery extends back to 2014, when he, his mother, two brothers and two sisters took refuge in the town of Qaim when ISIS struck. The jihadis quickly caught up with them. “When we tried to return to Samarra, they said ‘we will kill you’ so we were forced to stay,” Hamad told Al-Monitor on a recent afternoon in al-Hol. That is where he met Salwa.

His face lit up when he recalled their first encounter.

“The minute I saw her, I felt like she was my sister. She was being kept as a slave by a Russian ISIS member in the house next to ours. He was short and fat and she hated him.” There were 15 other women in the house, all Russians whose husbands were away fighting. As the fat man kept guard over them, he used and abused Salwa.

One day she slipped across the garden into Hamad's house and told the family her story. She was terribly lonely because she was unable to communicate with the other women in the house who only spoke Russian. She began coming every day and her tormentor only allowed it because he knew she would not dare to escape. What he didn’t know was that Hamad was determined to make sure that she did.

Salwa is from Iraq’s Sinjar region, where ISIS embarked on its genocidal slaughter of the Yazidis, an ancient religious minority that has suffered centuries of persecution, largely based on the false premise that they worship the devil. Under this pretext the jihadis decided it was perfectly in order to murder their men and enslave their women en masse.

The scale of the butchery is only beginning to surface. On March 15, Iraqi authorities began to exhume the first mass grave of Yazidis in the village of Kocho, south of Sinjar, where 400 men were killed, leaving only 19 survivors. Women and children were taken captive, among them Nobel laureate Nadia Murad, who has dedicated herself to promoting their cause. A girl who was taken along with Murad that day was recently found in al-Hol. Camp administrators declined to provide her name for security reasons. Publishing Hamad’s photograph, they said, would put him at risk too.

The Yazidis’ exploitation didn’t end with ISIS. Ziyad Rustam, a spokesman for Yazidi House, an advocacy group in the Kurdish-administered town of Amude in northern Syria, confirmed that smugglers have been extorting money from victims’ families, claiming to have rescued the women themselves even after they were saved by the SDF. For this reason, camp officials are keeping all information about the Yazidis strictly confidential as they continue their search amid the thousands of freshly arrived jihadi women and their children who are stretching camp resources to the bursting point.

“Some of these poor [Yazidi] women and children were kidnapped and held by these villainous profiteers directly from ISIS and used as servants and sexually abused before being sold back to their own families,” Rustam told Al-Monitor in a telephone interview. “The SDF is the force that protects them,” he said.

Cathy Otten, the author of the widely acclaimed account of the Yazidi tragedy “Ash on Their Faces,” concurred, saying, “It wasn’t uncommon for families to be contacted and extorted all over again either by ISIS members, criminals or professional smugglers.” She told Al-Monitor, “Cases of extortion appear to have increased in the chaos of ISIS' collapse. Yazidi families had no choice because there’s never been any official [Iraqi] effort to get the women and children back. So the families had to pay thousands of dollars to smugglers, exortionists and criminals along every step of the journey.”

Hamad was clearly not motivated by money. “I love Salwa; she is like a family member. I could no longer bear the idea of her suffering,” he said over a meal of chicken and rice that he barely touched. Camp officials explain that he has difficulty eating because he was starved in Baghouz for so long. “We became so desperate we picked apart unexploded bombs [mortar shells] and boiled the white powder inside and ate it,” he said. “It made us feel sick.”

How did he wind up in Baghouz? The family's odyssey hadn’t ended in Qaim. When coalition planes began bombing the city, they picked up and left together with ISIS, crossing the border into al-Keshma in Syria. “We didn’t know what else to do,” he explained. In al-Keshma, Hamad began searching for Salwa. Then one day “God answered our prayers” and she showed up at the family's doorstep accompanied by a jihadi fighter. “When my mother saw her they embraced and they both broke into tears and then for the first time I saw Salwa smile.”

They gave her a room, and Hamad began plotting her rescue in earnest. He managed to spirit her unnoticed to the local bazaar, where they used a merchant’s phone to contact her family, who in turn found a smuggler. But the smuggler was found out by the jihadis and executed. In the meantime, the SDF began closing in and captured the nearby town of Hajin. In a further unlucky twist, Salwa’s “husband,” by then slightly trimmer, turned up to reclaim her. Hamad arranged for his mother and siblings to turn themselves over to the SDF. But he stayed on in the hope of rescuing his adopted Yazidi sister.

Al-Keshma fell to the SDF soon after. Once again he followed the jihadis under a torrent of coalition bombing to Baghouz on the off chance of finding Salwa. He did — in a small tent with the Russian — and then a "miracle” occurred. The man disappeared once again. After three months of living on boiled weeds and a botched attempt to hand her smuggled to safety, Hamad finally managed to engineer their escape to the SDF lines as panic set in among the jihadis. They went in a car but were separated as soon as they turned themselves over.

“They said I was from the Islamic State.” And so it was Salwa’s turn to rescue Hamad. She told them their story. Soon Hamad was reunited with his beloved Salwa and the rest of his family in al-Hol and Salwa is now reunited with hers.

“I hope to visit her in Sinjar. That is my dream,” Hamad said.

Until then, he won't know the full truth of her reception back home. Rustam said that some Yazidi victims resist returning because of the stigma of being an ISIS slave. Others leave children conceived from such forced unions behind. Otten observed, “On a surface level, formerly enslaved women have been accepted back by Yazidi officialdom, but in practice things are rarely so straight. Yazidism is a hugely conservative and insular religion and Yazidis have the same sense of shame and honor as other religious groups in the region.” Salwa’s troubles may not be over yet. ... state.html

Re: Yazidi UPDATES genocide has occurred and is ongoing

PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:55 pm
Author: Anthea
German ISIS member faces war
crime trial over Yazidi girl's murder

A German woman accused of joining ISIS and committing war crimes, including as accomplice to the murder of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl she is alleged to have bought as a slave, has gone on trial in Germany

The woman, identified only as Jennifer W. because of German privacy laws, did not react on Tuesday as a judge in the court in Munich read out the list of crimes she is accused of: membership of a terrorist organization, weapons violation, murder and, specifically, murder as a war crime.

If convicted, the 27-year old faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

According to the indictment, Jennifer W. is believed to have left her home in Lower Saxony in August 2014 and volunteered to join the ISIS women's "morality police." She was allegedly given a weapon and a monthly salary, according to the prosecutor.

The indictment further alleges that in 2015 she and her husband, an ISIS fighter, purchased a Yazidi woman and her five-year-old daughter as slaves, before leaving the child chained up outside in scorching temperatures to die.

The girl's mother, identified as Nora B. in court documents, now lives in Germany and is one of the co-plaintiffs who will testify at the trial. She is represented by noted human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, who also represents Yazidi activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Nadia Murad.

Yazidi genocide

The case is believed to be the first prosecution of an ISIS member for war crimes committed against the Yazidi minority in Iraq.

ISIS's murder and enslavement of thousands of Yazidi people has been designated as genocide by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

"This case is important for all Yazidi survivors," Murad said in a statement released to mark the opening of the trial. "Every survivor I have met and spoken to is waiting for the same thing -- for the perpetrators to be prosecuted for their crimes against Yazidis, including women and children. So this is a very big moment for me, and for the entire Yazidi community."

Tuesday's hearing was unusually short, lasting only 15 minutes. The trial will resume on April 29.

Jennifer W. was not asked to enter a plea because the federal prosecutor had recently presented new evidence to the court that needs to be evaluated by her defense team, Munich court spokesperson Florian Gliwitzky told CNN.

A verdict in the case is expected in the autumn. ... index.html