Returning to Nineveh after a period of refuge from ISIS in the Sinjar Mountains, one Yazidi boy has dedicated his academic success to those families who did not get to see their children return to school.
After leaving his home to escape the onslaught of ISIS in August 2014, Aaalan Elias Dkheil Sido, a Yazidi child, was determined to continue his education and achieve success in school. The child, who first escaped with a few members of his family to the Sinjar mountains and then to Syria, finally settled in the Qadiya Refugee Camp in the city of Zakho in Dohuk Province in Iraqi Kurdistan. There Sido was able to get an education and recently received the highest score across Nineveh Province in the Governmental exams that are given to students.
Despite facing so many hardships, the young man said that he was able to achieve what many Yazidi children have not been able to do, due to ISIS’ invasion.
“I dedicate my success to all of the children who did not have the chance to go to school due to ISIS,” said Aalan. “I also dedicate my success to all of the imprisoned mothers who dreamt of seeing their children succeed [in school] but were not able to see it because of ISIS’ [imprisonment].”
According to Aalan’s father, most of his son’s friends were taken by ISIS, who kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and children during their attack on Kocho, Sinjar, and other Yazidi cities.
Most of these women and children who managed to survive have been able to escape ISIS’ control following the militant group’s defeat in Iraq and Syria. During the operations to liberate the Syrian city of Baghouz in March earlier this year, hundreds of Yazidi children and women were rescued from the militant group, where they were handed to the Iraqi forces who began processing them and returning them back to their hometowns and villages. Children and women who were liberated were provided with rehabilitation to reduce the psychological suffering that they faced under ISIS’ rule. Furthermore, the issuance of a decree by the Yazidi Supreme Spiritual Council that accepted and welcomed women who were taken as slave slaves by ISIS helped reduce the societal pressure that many of these liberated women were facing.
However, Yazidi activists say that there are over 3,000 Yazidis still missing to this day.
As a result, the Iraqi Government and the UN have begun exhuming and examining the bodies of hundreds of Yazidi women, men and children buried by ISIS in mass graves throughout the region, to know the fate of people that are still missing.
The UN has stated that 16 mass graves have been found in Kocho alone.
While the plight of the Yazidis continues despite the militant group’s defeat, the steps and efforts undertaken by the Iraqi Government and other international organisations attempt to reduce the suffering of the group that was inflicted with genocide by ISIS.
Furthermore, Yazidis like Aalan are attempting to show that despite the pain and agony that his community faces, they will continue to remain steadfast and achieve success.