ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday handed over 25 Yezidis (Ezidi) who had been freed from the so-called Islamic State to a rescue office in the northeastern Syrian town of Amuda.
The group of Ezidis, mainly women and children, were liberated during an offensive against the extremist group in Syria’s Baghouz, which commenced on March 23. They had been staying at the al-Hol camp.
Authorities at the rescue office expect to repatriate the 25 Ezidis to the city of Sinjar (Shingal) within the next two days.
Since announcing the military defeat of the Islamic State, Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria continue to facilitate the return of dozens of Ezidis to their families in Shingal.
On March 25, a group of 21 Ezidis – made up of 15 women and six children – reunited with their families south of Sihela Village, located near the Syrian border, approximately 58 kilometers west of the Kurdistan Region city of Duhok.
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on Shingal in August 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Ezidis. Most of them fled to the Kurdistan Region, while others resettled in neighboring countries in the region or Western states.
Others were not as lucky and remained stranded in the war zone, where they experienced atrocities and mass executions at the hands of the extremist group for years.
Militants subjected women and girls to sexual slavery, kidnapped children, forced religious conversions, executed scores of men, and abused, sold, and trafficked women across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
As of now, about 3,400 Ezidis have been rescued from an estimated total of 6,417 kidnapped or otherwise missing, according to the Kurdistan Region’s office in charge of their rescue and repatriation.