ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Yezidi (Ezidi) worker from the disputed town of Sinjar (Shingal) on Saturday morning ended his life by throwing himself off a high-rise in the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region, Erbil, police said.
The worker’s name is Ayad Haider Qassim, born in 1999 and from the predominantly Ezidi town of Shingal, Hogir Aziz, a spokesperson for the Erbil Police, told Kurdistan 24.
The incident took place on Sultan Muzafari Street, with video footage from local security cameras in the area obtained by Kurdistan 24.
“He passed away immediately at the site before he could be transferred to a nearby hospital,” Aziz said.
It is not clear what pushed him to commit suicide.
The spokesperson added that his body is now with forensic staff at a local hospital and the police have already launched an investigation into the case.
There are thousands of Ezidi working in different cities of the Kurdistan Region after being displaced from their towns.
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on Shingal in 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 females across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
Before the 2014 attack, there were roughly 550,000 Ezidis in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. As the militants took over large swaths of territory in Nineveh province, 360,000 Ezidis escaped and found refuge elsewhere, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ezidi Rescue Office.
Kurdish and Ezidi Peshmerga forces, with the support of the US-led coalition, retook Shingal from the Islamic State in November 2015.
Shingal, an area disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, is currently under the control of Iraqi forces and Shia-dominated militias. These forces, plus a limited number of Peshmerga and other Kurdish fighters, are present in Shingal and its outskirts with reports of tensions between them over who will control the strategic town that lies near the Syrian border.
Although Shingal was fully liberated from the Islamic State by late 2017, hundreds of thousands of Ezidis remain displaced in the Kurdistan Region due to insecurity and a lack of basic services in their largely-destroyed hometown.
Editing by Nadia Riva