Some of the Yazidis that were held in Syria by ISIS have been freed by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and transferred back to Iraq.
From executions to forced slavery, the Yazidi population has faced constant injustice and oppression by ISIS since the arrival of the militant group into Iraq and Syria. However, following its continuous defeats of in the region, Yazidis are now trying to rebuild their lives and communities.
According to human rights groups, thousands of Yazidis who have been taken by ISIS are still missing to this day.
“Unfortunately, I am one of 39 people whose children have been kidnapped and do not know their fate,” said one of the parents whose children were kidnapped by ISIS.
However, the battle against ISIS in their last enclave in Syria, Baghouz, has given hope to Yazidi families who believe they will discover the fate of their loved ones.
After the two-week evacuation period that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) carried out in the town of Baghouz, the last ISIS-held area in eastern Syria, thousands of women and children were able to escape the militant group’s grip.
Those who have evacuated are screened thoroughly and are then sent to displacement camps awaiting their fate.
Amongst those who have been evacuated are 14 Yazidi women and children, who were kidnapped by ISIS’ attack on their village five years ago.
After investigation, the 14 Yazidis were given over to the Iraqi authorities who will then return them to their families.
“[The missing Yazidis] were first in the city of Mosul and then they were moved to Raqqa and finally to the Baghuz. We have different ways to investigate their situation. In the past 48 hours, 14 Yazidi children aged between 5-16 years old have been freed,” said the head of the Kidnapped Affairs Office in the Dohuk Governorate in northern Iraq. “The total number of those freed in the year 2019 is 45 people.”
The return of these 14 Yazidis has given many families hope for their loved ones’ return after the defeat of ISIS in Baghouz.
While these operations are continuing, the SDF and other security forces must continue to conduct these screenings of displaced people in order to reunite Yazidi families, who have been forcefully separated for over five years or provide them with information regarding the fates that their loved ones had faced.