Yazidis in the Sharia Camp located in Iraq’s northern Dohuk Province have expressed their desire to return to their homes in Sinjar. However, due to the ongoing power struggle in the area, many are fearful of returning and do not know what the future will hold.
Sinjar was captured from ISIS militants by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Peshmerga in 2015. But over the past two weeks, the Iraqi central government, following the results of the Kurdish referendum vote, have set about restoring federal order in key areas of the country, with Sinjar one of them.
And although the fighting stopped last week, many Yazidis are fearful of returning to their homes and are despondent by a constant stream of violence in their recent history.
“It seems like another disaster is hitting us. We have left one disaster behind us and here we face another,” said one man sitting in a tent. “Disasters do not end for us.”
Yazidis have been fraught with a bloody and horrifying history in Iraq since the rise of the so-called Islamic State. Sinjar and its surrounding towns and villages, such as Kojo, which was the site of one of ISIS’ most brutal attacks on the Yazidi people, were subjugated to ISIS rule in June 2014, when the militant group swept through large parts of northern Iraq.
Although Sinjar was liberated in 2015, Kojo and its surrounds were not liberated until late May 2017, leaving the fate of thousands of Yazidi women and children in the hands of ISIS militants. Some have escaped or have been rescued, although thousands still remain unaccounted for.
Despite this, other Yazidis are attempting to rebuild their lives. In the town of Bashiqa, Yazidis came together to rebuild the holy shrine of Malik Miran, in an attempt to salvage a piece of their ancient heritage.