In recent weeks, dozens of Yazidis have been rescued from ISIS control in eastern Syria. Some have been held by the militant group for almost five years.
Yazidi children who were kidnapped from their families by ISIS have finally returned to their families following operations against the group in Baghouz, the last ISIS enclave in eastern Syria.
Two children, Qassim and Saddam, were able to escape ISIS control with the families evacuating the area. The children headed to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) patrols where they were taken and transferred to a local hospital to get checkups. Following the checkups, their identities were confirmed, and now they await being returned to their families in Iraq.
“ISIS militants kidnapped us and separated me from my mother. They gathered the boys and put them in houses, every six children in one house. Next, they took us to Mosul, then to Tal Afar, then to Jafha, and then to Sousse until we reached Baghuz [a town in eastern Syria],” said Milad Hussein, one of the Yazidi children who escaped from ISIS control. “We were besieged in Baghuz, and then my friend and I escaped and arrived at the local forces. I want to go back to my mother and father because I have not seen them in 4 years.”
Since ISIS’ invasion of Iraq and Syria in 2014, thousands of Yazidis have faced similar fates, with thousands still missing. Yazidis are hoping that with the liberation of Baghouz, families can finally know the fate that their loved ones faced after their kidnapping.
The two children who were kidnapped from Sinjar in 2014 have not seen their families since then and now await their return to the country. Last week Iraq received about 14 Yazidi women and children who will be reconnected with their families after the Iraqi Displacement and Migration office confirmed their identities.
The Yazidis children are hoping that they will go through the same process so that their families can finally rest with their return. “I want to go back to my family because I have not seen them for 4 or 5 years,” said Saddam Qassim, the other Yazidi child who was able to escape ISIS’ control.