At least nine Yazidi women and children were rescued from Islamic State captivity in Syria’s Raqqa, Kurdish officials said on Sunday.
“At around 10:30 on Saturday night, five Yazidi children and four women were rescued,” said Hussein Qaedi from the Duhok-based KRG department for Yazidi rescues, without identifying which forces were involved in the rescue mission.
“We had been working hard for 10 days. The nine Yazidi children and women were in Raqqa and now they are sheltered in a safe place,” he added.
In March, Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Yazidi Women Rescue Office revealed some 3,400 Yazidi remained under IS rule.
The Islamic State group proclaimed a “caliphate” across swathes of Iraq and Syria in June 2014. The group went on to commit mass rape and sexual enslavement of women from the Yazidi minority claiming they were polytheists or devil-worshippers.
The Kurdish-speaking minority are not Arab or Muslim – they practice their own religion, a unique blend of faiths which is rooted in Zoroastrianism but borrows from Islam, Christianity and other beliefs. The Yazidis are mostly based around Sinjar mountain, between the city of Mosul and the Syrian border.
The UN has called the massacres a genocide, arguing that IS had planned them and then intentionally separated men from women to prevent Yazidi children from being born.
Women from other minority sects were also made to suffer in the most brutal of ways.