The Sinjar Massacre: Yazidis Take Revenge Against Extremists’ Collaborators
As extremists from the Islamic State group are slowly driven out of northern Iraq, members of one of the groups that suffered at their hands – the Yazidis – began to take revenge on locals they say collaborated with them. This week several villages were looted and burned with around 70 locals kidnapped or killed.
Earlier this week the people of Mosul and Iraqi Kurdistan woke to hear terrible stories about what was happening around 100 kilometres away from them in the villages of Sibaya and Al Jarua in the Sinjar area. An armed group made up of members from the ethno-religious Yazidi group and fighters from the Syria-based Kurdish Worker’s Party, or PKK, had surrounded the two villages and they began to wreak “revenge” on the people inside them.
The villages were mostly populated by local Arabs and the armed group felt that many in the villages were responsible for the mass killings, kidnappings and forced expulsion of the Yazidis in Sinjar. Witnesses say houses were burned and there was murder, kidnapping and looting; women and children tried to flee, screaming, and any fighting age men and youths were rounded up and taken away.
The Yazidis accuse the residents of these two villages of committing crimes against them and of looting their houses and Yazidi property after extremists from the Islamic state, or IS, group took control of the area in August. The IS group is made up of Sunni Muslim extremists, and is led mainly by Iraqi Arabs. The Yazidis say the Arabs in these villages collaborated with the extremists and the Yazidis have actually threatened to take revenge more than once already.
The Arab locals in the village deny these accusations, saying that anyone who collaborated with the IS group has already left town; they fled to Mosul after the area was taken back from the IS group by Iraqi Kurdish military.
Armed men entered the house and began firing their guns in the air, says one of the survivors of what some are already calling the Sinjar massacre. “They told me to take my daughter and go to the mosque but they said that my husband and our two sons had to stay in the house,” says Zahra, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of further reprisals. “I begged them to let me take the young boys with me too but they wouldn’t let and they started shouting at me.”