Human Rights

Iraq: Yazidi Families Still In Search Of Missing Relatives


Yazidi families in Iraq are still in search of relatives who went missing following the massacres committed by ISIS over 5 years ago.

The plight of the Yazidi people in Iraq following the massacres they were subjected to by ISIS continues, as several Yazidi families are still in search of their relatives who went missing during those dark years.

5 years have passed since ISIS entered Yazidi-populated areas in the north of the country and committed atrocious massacres, which have been recognised by some states and organisations as a genocide. The massacres took place in 2014 and were mainly concentrated in the Sinjar district of Nineveh province, which is considered a homeland for the Yazidis and where the majority of them in the country live.

Hundreds of Yazidi children and women were kidnapped by the ISIS gangs. The children were mainly used as military fodder and were trained militarily to fight for the terrorist group. Many of them were also forced to convert and forget their native tongue.

Although many Yazidis have now returned to their homes after being displaced or abducted by ISIS, there are still Yazidis who are missing, some of whom are believed to be stranded in al-Hol camp in the Hasakah province of north-eastern Syria. Others have fortunately been found and brought back home.

“We paid a ransom for his return. For a whole year we tried to negotiate with them, but they did not return him to us. We paid about $10,500 and then they brought him to the Ibrahim Khalil customs checkpoint on the Iraqi-Turkish border”, explained Ali Qasim, a displaced Yazidi.

Al-Hol camp is currently accommodating thousands of displaced people, among them ISIS-affiliated individuals, particularly women who have been dubbed “ISIS wives”.

The issue of missing persons as well as the psychological trauma of having lived through the terror of ISIS rule has left a deep scar in the Yazidi communities of Iraq. The mental strain caused by these issues has led to a sharp rise in the suicide rates within those communities.