Rescued Yezidi girls reunited with family in Duhok
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Two teenage Yezidi girls, who were previously abducted by the so-called Islamic State, have been rescued and reunited with their family, the government rescue office announced on Wednesday.
The two sisters, named Basma Khalaf (14) and Aliya Khalaf (12), have been rescued from northeastern Syria’s Al-Hol camp, a notorious facility that houses alleged family members of the former ISIS militants.
They were abducted by the terror group in August 2014 in Sinjar, the majority-Yezidi town in northwest Iraq. There, the extremists had committed gross human rights violations, some of which had amounted to genocide by the United Nations.
The teenagers, whose parents and siblings are still believed to be in ISIS custody, were greeted by their relatives in Duhok Province with flowers and candies on Wednesday
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Kidnapped Yezidi Rescue Office had worked on their release for nearly three months, Hussein Qaedee, the head of the office, told Kurdistan 24.
Over 3,500 Yezidi girls and women have been rescued so far, the official said, vowing the efforts would continue until the last abducted Yezidi is rescued.
In late June, six other Yezidi women were rescued from ISIS captivity with the support of the office.
“By setting up an office dedicated to rescuing kidnapped Yazidi women and girls, he has helped many of them escape ISIS captivity,” Nadia Murad, a Yezidi Noble Peace Laureate and survivor of sexual violence said at the time.
Despite continued efforts, there are still nearly 2,700 missing Yezidi women, who were abducted nine years ago along with more than 6,000 other Yezidis.
Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 Duhok reporter Maher Sinjari