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3,000 Yazidis captured by Daesh still missing

Iraqi Izadis gather outside Lalish temple situated in a valley near the Kurdish city of Dohuk, located 430 kilometers (260 miles) northwest of Baghdad, during a ceremony to celebrate the Izadi New Year on April 17, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

An official at the Endowments and Religious Affairs Ministry of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government says more than 3,000 members of Yazidi minority remain unaccounted for since Daesh militants overran their hometowns in northern Iraq back in 2014.

“The fate of 3,102 Izadis remain unknown since Daesh terrorists attacked our towns and cities in mid-2014,” Khairi Bozarni said at a conference devoted to the “Yazidi Genocide” in the Kurdish capital city of Erbil on Wednesday.

Bozarni added that more than 2,500 Yazidi Kurds lost their lives at the hands of Daesh, while another 6,000 – mostly women and children – were abducted.

He noted that 66 places of worship for Yazidis have also been desecrated or destroyed by the terror group.

What’s more, more than 100,000 Yazidis have fled Kurdistan region and Iraq in general since the summer of 2014

Bozarni said.

He went on to say that Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has secured the release of more than 2,000 abducted Yazidis.

Bozarni also called on the international community as well as the central government in Baghdad to discover the fate of missing Yazidis as soon as possible.

Read: The abandoned children of Daesh fighters in Libya

Earlier this year, Iraqi security forces found a mass grave in the northern province of Nineveh, which contained the bodies of dozens of Yazidis believed to have been executed by Daesh terrorists when they were in control of an area there.

A security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language al-Etejah television network that federal police forces had made the discovery in the town of Qahtaniyah, located about 100 kilometers from Mosul, and that the mass grave contained the bodies of 70 people.

He added that security forces had handed over all the bodies to the forensic department in Mosul to be identified and returned to their relatives.

Back in August 2014, Daesh terrorists overran the town of Sinjar, killing, raping, and enslaving large numbers of Yazidi Kurds.

The region was recaptured in November 2015, during an operation by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Yazidi fighters.

Read: ‘Iraq too dangerous for Daesh families to return’

The Office of Kidnapped Affairs in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk said last year that around 3,500 Yazidi Kurds were still being held captive by Daesh, adding that a large proportion of the abductees were women and children.

The Endowments and Religious Affairs Ministry of Kurdistan Regional Government announced last August that Daesh’s genocide against Yazidis had forced nearly 360,000 members of the minority to flee their hometowns, and another 90,000 to leave Iraq and take refuge in other countries.

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