Politics

Yazidis returning to Sinjar, despite fresh conflict and Covid-19

By Marta Rullán

Madrid Desk, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- Despite Turkish bombings, the continued threat of the Islamic State terror organization and the global Covid-19 pandemic, Yazidi refugees are returning home to Sinjar six years after they were forced to flee genocide.

Some 250 families have returned to their homeland in northern Iraq in recent days, sick of suffering and waiting for help that never arrived in the camps for internally-displaced people dotted around the region.

They’re looking to restart lives that were suspended on 3 August 2014 by a brutal IS attack on Sinjar.

“I think we will have a good future if someone provides us with safety and security,” 58-year-old Saad Hamad Mato tells Efe, adding that he is “tired” of being displaced and just wants to start his life again.

In 2014, he spent eight days wandering through the wilderness to escape the IS onslaught in Sinjar. He said he saw the bodies of Yazidi elders, murdered by IS, as well as children who died from a lack of food and water.

GENOCIDE

On 3 August, some 6,500 Yazidis, mainly women and children, were abducted by the IS.

The Yazidi people, whose belief system has links to the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism, can trace their roots in Sinjar province to 2,000 BC, in which time they have suffered 74 sectarian genocides.

The IS extremists executed at least 5,000 Yazidi men and older women and sold many young Yazidi women into sexual slavery and trained young boys to fight.

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