Twenty eight survivors of IS captivity return to Ninewa

Twenty eight survivors of IS captivity return to Ninewa
Ninewa- An Ezidi man in Shingal reunited with his son who was among the survivors, April 2019   Photo: Ibrahim Ezidi

Ibrahim Ezidi- Ninewa

Twenty eight abductees, including Ezidis and Shiite Turkmens freed from Islamic State group captivity in Syria returned to their hometowns in Shingal (Sinjar) and Talafar in Iraq’s northern Ninewa province.

On April 14, twenty seven Ezidis from Shingal and a Turkmen from Talafar were reunited with their relatives after enduring horrific years under the militant group.

Jamila haidar, one of the survivors told KirkukNow, “After years of captivity under IS we fled towards Holi camp; I was stranded there for a long time until members of the Ezidi House (a shelter for Ezidis in Syria’s Rojava cantons) came and took me with them.”

This Ezidi girl still awaits news from her three missing brothers who were also kidnapped by IS. She calls for intensifying the efforts to bring back all the Ezidis still unaccounted for.

During the battles to control the group’s last hold-out in eastern Syria;s Baghouz more than 215 Ezidis were rescued, while search continues for more others who might be trapped in IDP camps in Syria.

On March 23, 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) backed by the global coalition against IS declared the end of the group in Syria, following 5 years of fierce fighting.

The final showdown with IS in the eastern Syrian town of Baghouz lasted for 40 days.

Shingal- Ezidi survivors reunited with loved ones in a special ceremony, April 2019  Photo: Ibrahim Ezidi

 

Re Ibrahim Farhan, a relative of one of the Ezidi survivors said, “For nearly 5 years we were waiting for this day to come; today my cousin returned. We are overwhelmed with joy as we see our loved ones after IS was defeated.”

“Now we celebrate two feasts, the coming of Chwarshamba Sor (the Ezidi new year) and the return of our loved ones”, he said, urging for the search for the remaining Ezidis to continue.

While the death of the IS caliphate has been declared, the fate of thousands of Ezidis, including women and children remains unknown.

Ezidis have hinged their last hope on discovering the fate of their missing in the Islamic State’s last territorial pocket in eastern Syria’s Baghouz.

“We believe that many Ezidi abductees have been sheltered in camps, particularly those where families of IS fighters are sheltered”, Sheikh Ziyad, director of the Ezidi House (mala Ezidyan) in Syria’s Rojava cantons told KirkukNow.

An estimated 6,417 Ezidis were kidnapped by IS fighters after they swept into Shingal in August 2014 nearly 3,000 of them remain missing.

 

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