Hundreds of Yazidis flee Iraq daily: report
A file picture taken on August 13, 2014, shows displaced Iraqi families from the Yazidi community crossing the Iraqi-Syrian border at the Fishkhabur crossing, in northern Iraq. (AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)
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More than 100 members of the Yazidi Kurdish community leave Iraq on a daily basis to save their lives amid the unrelenting threat of death from Daesh militants, officials say.
Hussein al-Qaedi, director of the Office of Abductee Affairs in the northern Iraqi city of Duhok, which works to locate captive Yazidis and free them, told the Arabic-language al-Sumaria satellite television network on Monday that over 3,000 Yazidis, mostly women and children, are still being held captive by Daesh, noting that the militants are treating the abductees cruelly and subjecting them to various types of abuse and torture.
He added that the majority of the kidnapped Yazidi children are learning combat skills at Daesh training camps to carry out acts of terror, and that the militants are trying to impose their heavily distorted principles on the minors.
Qaedi further noted that his office has managed to rescue 2,014 Yazidi captives so far, stressing that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has greatly assisted in such efforts.
He said the rescued Yazidis recount their ordeals at the hands of Daesh militants, and are in dire need of both financial and moral support.
Meanwhile, dozens of Yazidis gathered at the Tahrir Square in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad on Monday to commemorate the anniversary of the Daesh onslaught against members of their community.
The protesters called upon Iraqi authorities to spare no efforts in redressing Yazidis’ rights.
The KRG estimates that there are 550,000 members of the Yazidi community in Iraq. Yazidis reportedly account for 400,000 of the more than three million people, who have been displaced in Iraq ever since Daesh began their march through the Iraqi territory in June 2014.
According to the KRG figures, 1,280 Yazidis were killed when Daesh overran the city of Sinjar last summer. Tens of thousands of people, fearing for their lives, scrambled up the mountains surrounding the area, and remained stranded there for days without any basic commodities and in sizzling temperatures.
The United Nations has said that Daesh atrocities against the Yazidi Kurds may amount to genocide.
In May, Zainab Bangura, the special representative of the UN secretary general on sexual violence in conflict, said the militant group is committing horrendous crimes against women, particularly against those from the Yazidi community.