Iraqi forces rescue kidnapped Yezidi in anti-ISIS desert operation in Anbar

In a military operation in the Anbar desert, Iraqi intelligence forces rescued a kidnapped Yezidi (Ezidi) woman in an Islamic State hideout, killing seven jihadists, security forces said in a statement on Thursday.
author_image Sangar Ali

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In a military operation in the Anbar desert, Iraqi intelligence forces rescued a kidnapped Yezidi (Ezidi) woman in an Islamic State hideout, killing seven jihadists, security forces said in a statement on Thursday.

“The operation was carried out after receiving accurate information from sources of the Federal Police Intelligence Directorate,” Iraq’s Security Media Cell affirmed.

The statement did not offer further details about the Ezidi survivor nor the militants killed in the operation.

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.

Prior to 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 the Nineveh province, 360,000 Ezidis escaped and found refuge elsewhere, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ezidi Rescue Office.

So far, over 69 mass graves which contain the remains of Ezidis have been excavated along with an untold number of individual graves.

Although the Ezidi office has rescued over 3,000 Ezidis abducted by the Islamic State, according to their own records, thousands more are still missing and their whereabouts remain unknown despite the military defeat of the jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

Editing by Nadia Riva