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Yazidis: Iraq not taking fate of our missing daughters seriously

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 17 April, 2018 [File photo]
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 17 April, 2018 [File photo]

The final battles to rid Syria of Daesh are aiming for a military victory and not taking in to consideration the lives of abducted Yazidis women who have been captured by the group, Yazidi representatives have warned.

Last month UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported that the severed heads of 50 women had been found near the Iraqi border, adding that they were some of the women who had gone missing from Iraq’s Sinjar region.

Saib Khidr, deputy of the Yazidi community in the Iraqi parliament, told German news agency DPA that “when Daesh attacked our areas, it killed most of the men and destroyed Sinjar, the religious and strategic centre of the Yazidis. So, all that is left for us is to demand the return of the abducted women.”

He pointed out that “the crackdown on the remaining Daesh militants in Al-Bagouz increased, and they have no chance of escape and hiding, which raises more concern about finding the remaining abducted women alive. They might have been killed by the aerial bombardment by international coalition forces on Daesh sites or by Daesh militants themselves as happened some time ago.”

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He called on the Iraqi security services to move quickly and coordinate with the leaders of the SDF and the international coalition “to search for the places where Daesh hide these kidnapped women.”

Haider Elias, head of the Yazda organisation, an international non-profit body which focuses on the relief of Yazidis affected by the events in Sinjar, said: “The total number of people who had been killed by Daesh in the Sinjar massacre was close to 5,800 … More than 6,000 people were kidnapped, about half of whom or more were freed … They have been liberated by military efforts of Syria and Iraq or after their families paid ransoms … There are still 3,000 Yazidis or more whose destiny is unclear.”

He stressed that “as the battle is close to an end, the hope of many Yazidi families to find their daughters alive is fading.”

“Of course, we were not optimistic that everyone will return, because there are abducted women who have been killed by Daesh while trying to escape from its militants … Some committed suicide because they could not endure the tragic conditions they were living under … while some others died because of disease or being injured in the battles and the bombing which targeted Daesh sites.”

He added: “We continue to appeal to all the parties concerned that the goal of the last battle should not be limited to the military victory we are waiting for, but also to revealing the fate of our daughters or revealing the details of their disappearance inside or outside Syria … We want the full facts, and that the leaders and militants of Daesh be tried before the international judiciary for what they committed against us and our daughters.”

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Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al-Sahaf denied that the government had neglected the issue of the abducted Yazidi women, stressing that it is following up on all files, “especially the issues related to minorities, which reflect the sense of diversity and multiculturalism upon which Iraqi society is constructed.”

He stressed to DPA that “the Yazidis are Iraqi, and we know the extent of the crimes committed against them by Daesh and its gangs, and I am surprised that there is talk about the Iraqi government’s deliberate negligence of them.”

“We are following and coordinating with all the parties in the file of the abducted women. We are communicating with the Syrian side, represented by the Syrian Foreign Ministry, and with all friends and partners, to obtain accurate and correct information, on which basis the next steps will be taken.”

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