Almost two years has passed since the massacre in Shingal (Sinjar) took place on August 3, 2014, where ISIS attacked the ancient religious Yezidi minority of the area. 200,000 people were forced to flee and more than 8,000 women were kidnapped and sold as sex slaves. More and more mass graves are still being found, revealing the atrocities committed by ISIS against the population. Today, the situation of the Yezidis is still without any greater hope for a bright future.
BY ZANA TEKOSIN VESTERHOLM
Today, many of the Yezidi Kurds who fled because of the brutal fighting still haven’t returned to their city after the area was “liberated”. The reason I’m adding quotation marks at liberated is because when the battles between Kurdish forces and the terrorist organization of ISIS ended, pretty much nothing of the city was left afterwards.
The Yezidis today feel abandoned and don’t trust that they will be protected in the future after the lack of protection and support when they were brutally attacked and ambushed by ISIS in August two years ago. Many of their Sunni Arab neighbors in the city were even helping ISIS when the attacked happened.
One way they were helping the terror group was by pointing out the homes where the ‘most beautiful women’ lived and by this helping the terror group in their mission to sell these women as sex slaves. Ever since, thousands of women have been sold in their markets and have been raped over and over again. Some of these women managed to escape this horror and are their stories of pain and suffering are now being shared with the world. Some are receiving trauma care but many are left without any psychological help.
The attack and killing of the Yezidi Kurds, which has been recognized as a genocide by the European Parliament, resulted in 200,000 people fleeing the area, most of whom fled to Europe in search for safety. Most of those who managed to escape are now located in Germany where many Yezidis already live in exile. Many are also placed in refugee camps in southern Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan) and northern Kurdistan (Turkish Kurdistan).
It is important in the Yezidi religion that people remain in those areas because of the sacredness of the area, where many holy places are to be found around the Nineveh plains and Mosul. But because of the fear, many see no other choices than to escape from the area – the home place of their forefathers.
The 74th genocide
Because of this genocide, and previous attacks on the Kurdish minority, the Yezidis have now established two military defense units – HPS (Hêza Parastina Shingal) and YBS (Yekîniyên Berxwedana Shingal) with 5,000 and 3,000 volunteers to defend the area of Shingal (Sinjar) in the future.
Many of the Yezidi men were killed and the children taken away from them, only to be brainwashed with their fundamentalist ideology and to become the next generation of ISIS, preparing them to fight even their own families, and today, exactly two years after the genocide began, 3,200 Yezidi women are still missing and more than 25,000 Yezidis still are without homes, on the Shingal mountain. The genocide is the 74th committed against the religious minority.
The Kurdish Yezidi minority is in need of international help and and there is not a day to waste.