Yezidi Spiritual leader calls for rescuing Yezidi women from Islamic State
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (K24) – Yezidi Spiritual leader Baba Sheikh on Saturday called for rescuing Yezidi girls and women held by the Islamic State (IS) insurgents. He also called for reconstructing Shingal (Sinjar), the newly liberated Kurdish-Yezidi in northern Iraq on the Syrian border.
In a statement to Kurdistan24 TV, Baba Sheikh said, "We ask for rescuing Yezidi girls and women from the hand of Daesh [IS] and to return them to Shingal." He added, "We also call for reconstructing Shingal."
Sheikh's call followed his visit to Shingal and the important Yezidi shrine of Sharafaddin Tomb near the city on Saturday. It was Sheikh's first visit to Shingal since its liberation by Peshmerga last month.
Shingal was occupied by IS jihadists since August 2014. Since then, IS arrested and captured thousands of Yezidi girls and women, and have notoriously treated them as a sexual commodity, selling them in markets in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, two of their main strongholds.
On November 12, 2015, Kurdish Peshmerga forces--in coordination with US-led coalition airstrikes launched a successful military operation and liberated Shingal one day later.
Also on Saturday, several members of the Yezidi leadership held a press conference in the nearby town of Shekhan. The leadership called for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the federal government of Iraq, and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to help in reconstructing Shingal. The leadership also asked these governments and organizations to help bring back the bodies of a Yezidi family whose boat capsized in an attempt to cross the Aegean sea between Turkey and Greece on Saturday, hoping to enter Europe.
On August 2014, when IS first occupied Shingal, thousands of Yezidi people fled toward Shingal Mountain and 960 children died in the process, according to statistics provided by the Yezidi Directorate Department of KRG.
Also, according to statistics provided by the Yezidi Directorate Department offered to K24 on Sunday, there are 500,000 Yezidi people in Iraq and nearly almost 400,000 of them have been internally displaced due to extremists’ attacks and massacres.
These statistics also show that at least 1,286 Yezidis have been killed since June 2014. Additionally, 5,838 Yezidis have been kidnapped; 3,192 of them women and 2,646 are men.
The statistics also shows that 2,321 Yezidis have escaped from IS jihadists that 864 of them were women, while 316 are men and children.