Iraq News
Terrorism

Iraq rescues 2 Yazidi girls from Syria camp

By Khalid al-Taie

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A Yazidi child kidnapped by ISIS returns to her family on August 27th, 2019. [Photo courtesy of Iraqi Office for Yazidi Abductees' Affairs director Hussein Qaidi]

Two Yazidi girls kidnapped by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in 2014 have been rescued from a camp in Syria and returned to Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, an official said Monday (November 2nd).

The Office for Yazidi Abductees' Affairs located the girls -- ages 15 and 19 -- who were being held in the Syrian camp of al-Hol, Khairi Bouzani, general director for Yazidi affairs at the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, told Diyaruna.

They were rescued and brought back to Iraq after a "secret and dangerous mission", he said.

"The camp contains extremist women who belong to ISIS, and it was not easy to cross the border, enter the camp and free the two girls from those violent women's hands," he explained.

The girls hail from the villages of Kojo and Tal Qasab in southern Sinjar. They were kidnapped by ISIS when it invaded Sinjar in August 2014.

They were later transferred to Syria as part of the the group's campaign to trade in Yazidi women, said Bouzani.

"Like other Yazidi women and men kidnapped by ISIS, they experienced ill-treatment and persecution during the years they were held captive," he said, adding that efforts continue to "free all kidnapped persons and return them safely to Iraq".

Yazidi girls held by ISIS women

Bouzani noted that most of the 1,302 kidnapped Yazidi women who remain unaccounted for are likely being held at al-Hol by ISIS women, while the rest are in other parts of Syria.

Of the 6,417 Yazidis taken captive by ISIS, a total of 3,542 have been rescued so far, according to the latest figures.

Among the survivors were 1,203 women and 339 men, while the rest were children: 1,045 girls and 955 boys, according to Bouzani.

Bouzani urged the Iraqi government and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria to help his office uncover the fate of missing Yazidis.

"We have on multiple occasions called, and we are today renewing our call, for action to be taken and for broad co-operation to search for our kidnapped men and women, rescue them and end their years-long suffering," he said.

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