Yazidis Still Face Danger

By Shaida al-Ameen for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Thousands of Yazidi families currently face a dire humanitarian situation. They have been scattered in refugee camps, while the fate of hundreds of Yazidi girls who were kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) remains unknown.

Not only has IS abducted hundreds of Yazidi women, it has also killed, expelled, seized the properties of and and set fire to the homes of other Yazidis. This occurred when IS took control of Sinjar and the Ninevah Plains after the withdrawal of peshmerga forces.

In a speech addressed to the public of Iraqi Kurdistan, President Massoud Barzani said that he dismissed all security, military and partisan officials who were in charge of protecting Sinjar. A fact-finding committee has been formed to determine the punishment of all officials found guilty of neglect in their task of protecting citizens.

The control of IS over Sinjar has forced thousands of Yazidis to flee to the Sinjar Mountains, their only escape from death. Youssef Qarmo’s family was among those who headed to the mountains in the hope of cheating death.

Qarmo, 50, told Al-Monitor, “On Aug. 3, we ran away after IS militants besieged our village of Siba Sheikh Khdr and peshmerga forces withdrew. We left our money and official documents and headed to the mountains before IS could enter.”

The five-member Qarmo family remained for nine days in the Sinjar Mountains amid hunger, thirst and high temperatures. These terrible conditions claimed the lives of hundreds of children and the elderly. They were all waiting for the arrival of an aid helicopter to rescue those who survived.

“The days we spent in the mountains were difficult. Our food and water supplies ran out after a few days. Many children died of thirst and hunger. The natural milk of mothers ran dry. We were drinking the polluted water of the springs, and in the final days we were compelled to eat grass. When the helicopter came, we ran to hold on to it, since it could only transport a small number of people. We saw from the mountain our houses being plundered and destroyed at the hands of IS,” Qarmo said.

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