Turkmen abductees are forgotten
Hundreds of women are still missing

July 31, 2018 at 6:49 pm

Ninewa, August 2017, welcoming 1,500 IDPs of Talaafar. Photo: Ministry of Migration

Ninewa, August 2017, welcoming 1,500 IDPs of Talaafar. Photo: Ministry of Migration

Jaafar Talaafari – Ninewa
Iman, a Turkmen girl, barely escaped the Islamic State (ISIS). Her family could arrange a deal where she moved to Syria and later Turkey, with a massive amount of money in exchange.
She was with around one thousand other abductees who used to reside in Talaafar, half of them women. ISIS kidnapped them in 2014, and for most of them, their fate is still unknown.
She prefered not to publish her real name.
After her escape, she could rejoin her family. As for her husband, he is still missing.
As with the other components, Turkmens faced abduction by ISIS. Some of them complain that the case is reduced to the Yazidis only, while they have suffered such incidents as well.
Acquiring information concerning the abductees turned to be difficult, as the relatives of the abductees refuse to cooperate with the relevant institutions.
When researcher Khidir Domli met a used-to-be abductee, the Turkmen girl refused to reveal her true identity and details of her abduction. They are afraid of the ‘dark stain’ such details might leave for them, and they cite religious reasons as well.

Ninewa, May 2018, ISIS raids devastated Talaafar. Photo: Jaafar Talaafari

Ninewa, May 2018, ISIS raids devastated Talaafar. Photo: Jaafar Talaafari

Domli has met many Yazidi and Christian victims, but not so much for the Turkmens, as he said, “There are obstacles.”
Up to now, half the 6,000 Yazidi abductees have been rescued, with no accurate data concerning the other components.
“According to the Institute for Rescuing Turkmens report, recorded with us, 615 Turkmen women and girls were abducted, just a few of them have been rescued,” said Ali Bayati, the spokesman of the High Commission for Human Rights.
He also said the relatives of the abductees are not ready to cooperate with the relevant institutions.
When ISIS took over Ninewa, they abducted thousands of Christians, Yazidis and Turkmens in these regions, some of them still missing.
Ibtisam Hayu, head of the Dialogue Institute for Culture and Development told KirkukNow, “1,200 abduction cases are recorded for Turkmens, in the first month of seizing Talaafar and Sinjar by the ISIS.”
The number later reached 1,300, with 500 women and 150 children. Some men were abducted as well, including civilians, officers, public servants and activists.
Hayu speculates that ISIS might have killed the men, while the fate of the women is still unknown.
The fate of these people could not be resolved with the liberation of the Iraqi cities from ISIS.

Ninewa, 22 August 2017, Iraqi forces in the first liberated neighbourhood of Talaafar. Photo: PMF

Ninewa, 22 August 2017, Iraqi forces in the first liberated neighbourhood of Talaafar. Photo: PMF

Talaafar is located 70km west of Mosul, with Arab, and Shia Turkmen residents. ISIS controlled the town for more than three years, from mid-2014 to August 2017.
Hiwa Ramzi heads a Turkmen rights group said, “Turkmen areas had the lion’s share of misery.”
He said more than one thousand Turkmen people were abducted, “When they were sent to Mosul, no news came about them anymore.”
He criticised the government saying they had no role in investigating the case, “After most of them were killed and buried in mass graves, the government did not start exhuming the graves to collect data, while some local organisations tried.”

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