Syrian Kurdish-led authorities free another missing Yezidi woman in Syria

After an investigation to verify her identity, the 22-year-old was handed over to the Yezidi House who confirmed she would be returned to her family in Sinjar (Shingal).
author_image Wladimir van Wilgenburg
In August 2014, thousands of Yezidis were trapped in the Shingal mountains as they tried to escape from the so-called Islamic State. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/Emrah Yorulmaz)
In August 2014, thousands of Yezidis were trapped in the Shingal mountains as they tried to escape from the so-called Islamic State. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/Emrah Yorulmaz)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Yezidi House in Syria’s Cizere canton announced on Sunday it had received a 22-year-old Yezidi (Ezidi) survivor named Najla Saeed Ismail from the internal security forces in the Hasakah province.

The northeastern Syrian Yezidi House organization, an entity dedicated to affairs related to the religious minority, said in a statement that Ismail was received by security forces “ after she escaped from the grips of her ISIS captives.”

After an investigation to verify her identity, the 22-year-old was handed over to the Yezidi House who confirmed she would be returned to her family in Sinjar (Shingal).

Ismail was born in the village of Tal Qasab in Shingal and was one of the women who the so-called Islamic State kidnapped and took to Syria.

In their statement, the Yezidi House thanked the internal security forces for their “constant cooperation with them to return prisoners, women, and children from different regions to their families in Shingal.”

The Yezidi House did not reveal any details on why Ismail did not hand herself over to the local authorities earlier or what happened to her after the Islamic State kidnapped her in August 2014.

The emergence of the so-called Islamic State and its violent assault on Iraq’s Yezidi-majority city of Shingal in August 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of the community and the killing of scores more.

According to the Yezidi Rescue Office affiliated to the Kurdistan Region Presidency Office, it has saved over 3,537 Yezidis, out of the 6,417 people whom the Islamic State kidnapped (some 2,880 remain missing).

Yazda co-founder and former Executive Director, Murad Ismail, welcomed the news in a statement on Twitter. “Another Yezidi girl is rescued from Syria. Great news. Nearly 2,800 remain missing,” he wrote.

The Yezidi leadership has earlier appealed to Western diplomats that the international community must do more to save the hundreds of Yezidi women and children who are still missing.

Some women in Syria avoid returning home. They fear their children will not be accepted by the local community because they were conceived through rape by so-called Islamic State fighters.

Read More: Some Yezidi survivors still fear returning home to Sinjar

Award-winning Dutch-Kurdish filmmaker Reber Dosky previously told Kurdistan 24 that there are still Yezidi women and children being held by females with ties to the Islamic State at the Al Hol camp who scare them into thinking “their own Yezidi community will kill them when they go back.”

Dosky is currently working on a documentary on Yezidi female survivors that is expected to be released in November 2021.

In early January, another Yezidi survivor named Assimah Jassem Khedr handed herself over to security forces. She was living in the countryside of Deir al-Zor with pro-Islamic State families after being smuggled out of the notorious Al Hol camp.

Khedr was initially afraid to return to her hometown Shingal but was later convinced she could go back after she heard stories about other women going home without any difficulties.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany