Four children of Turkmen ethnicity from Ninewa’s western district of Talafar were reunited with their relatives after they were freed from Islamic State (IS) captivity in the group’s last territorial pocket Baghouz by Syrian Democratic Forces SDF.
Shahab Aoun Mustafa, father of three of the freed children told KirkukNow, “IS militants kidnapped 8 members of my family after we fled Talafar towards Shingal (Sinjar) west of Mosul, where they were held captive along with members of the Ezidi community in August 2014. Since then, we haven’t heard anything about them.”
He added that one of his daughters who is 14, was freed during the battles to retake Mosul in 2017 while the others remained missing.
The newly freed children arrived in Talafar on March 12, 2019. “Three of my children named Khalil, Ahmed and Ali who are under 13 were rescued by SDF fighters on March 6th, and today we were reunited, meanwhile, the fate of my wife, two of my sons and one of my daughters is unknown”, said Mustafa.
The children were put through a lot of pain and suffering in captivity
He noted that his children were “put through a lot of pain and suffering” during nearly 5 years they spent in captivity, calling on the relevant departments to “intensify their efforts to discover the fate of those remain missing and bring them back.”
Lazim Hazim, A relative of the fourth freed child said, “Mehdi is the second member of his family of ten to be freed from IS; the remaining eight are still unaccounted for.”
12 Ezidis from Shingal and 4 children from Talafar were brought back safely to their home areas
The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces PMF Operations Command in Ninewa announced on Tuesday, March 12th that they have supervised the return of 16 kidnapped children from Syria.
A PMF statement said the process was concluded “based on accurate information which indicated that a group of children were kidnapped by IS after the fall of Mosul, and the dossier was followed up on in coordination with the Syrian side.”
“16 children among them 12 Ezidis from Shingal and 4 children from Talafar were brought back safely to their home areas”, the statement added.