The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) on Saturday freed three Yezidi women from an ISIS detention centre in the western part of Mosul city, in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh province.
Iraqi General Command’s Colonel Khaled al-Jawari confirmed in a statement the release of the three Kurdish Yezidi women.
“The ISF raided a former ISIS detention centre in the Najjar neighbourhood of Western Mosul, where the three captives were being held. They were secured by the Iraqi forces and transferred to a safe location,” al-Jawari said in a statement on Saturday.
The freed captives, who were taken to the Sinjar (Shingal) district on Saturday evening, were among thousands of Yezidi girls who were taken by ISIS extremists as sex slaves in the summer of 2014.
According to Yezidi community leaders, at least 2,000 Yezidi women and girls are still held captive by ISIS.
A study by LSE (London School of Economics) researchers has provided evidence that the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) killed or kidnapped an estimated 9,900 members of the Yezidi religious minority over the course of a few days in August 2014.
ISIS subjugated the Nineveh governorate in northern Iraq, home to most of Iraq’s minority groups, during the summer of 2014. These minorities were systematically targeted by ISIS in a violent campaign to ‘purify’ the region of non-Islamic influences.
In August 2014, ISIS radicals took over the Yezidi region of Shingal/Sinjar in northern Iraq, causing a mass displacement of nearly 400,000 people to Duhok and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tens of thousands of Yezidis remained trapped in Mount Sinjar, suffering mass killings, kidnappings and rape cases, according to local and military sources. Also, thousands of Yezidi girls have been taken by the radical group as sex slaves.
On November 13, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, backed by an air cover from the US-led coalition forces, announced the liberation of the entire Yezidi district of Shingal in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh after fierce battles with ISIS extremists. The Kurdish forces have recently discovered more than five mass graves in the Yezidi region, where hundreds of Yezidi civilians have been summarily executed and buried by ISIS jihadis. Yet, thousands of Yezidi women remain in ISIS captivity after being sold as sex slaves across the group’s territory in Iraq and Syria.