- Title: Three years since Islamic State attack, Yazidi wounds still open
- Date: 3rd August 2017
- Summary: SINJAR, IRAQ (AUGUST 3, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING TOWARDS MAZAR SHARAF ELDIN (SACRED AND CEMETERY AREA FOR YAZIDI MINORITY) PESHMERGA FIGHTERS CARRYING KURDISH FLAGS ALONGSIDE RED CARPET PEOPLE HOLDING UP BANNERS / PESHMERGA FIGHTERS / KURDISH FLAGS FLYING BANNER READING (Arabic): "TODAY WE REMEMBER THE TRAGEDY THAT TOOK PLACE ON 3/8/2014 (AUGUST 3, 2014). A DAY IN WHICH EVIL WAS BORN OUT OF THE DARKNESS IN THE DESERT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FORGIVING YAZIDI PEOPLE" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WEARING WHITE MARCHING TOWARDS MAZAR SHARAF ELDIN WOMAN WEARING WHITE PARTICIPATING IN MARCH CHILDREN HOLDING UP BANNERS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WEARING WHITE STANDING IN FRONT OF SACRED SITE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EVENT ORGANISER, ELIAS FARIS, SAYING: "The genocide that happened to us, Yazidis on August 3, 2014 - honestly I don't know where to start when talking about this. Do we talk about the abductions? Or the mass graves? Or the enslavement of women? Or the rapes? It is a truly painful memory, a real genocide." PEOPLE HOLDING UP SIGNS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SINJAR RESIDENT, 20-YEAR-OLD NISREEN (SURNAME UNKNOWN), SAYING: "I have a friend who I have known since the first grade, we grew up together, she was kidnapped by Daesh (Islamic State). I was really affected by this, I thought about her everyday. Thank God she is now free, and I sometimes see her. I can't explain how it feels, it is very difficult, when she begins to tell me what happened to her, I start crying, I can't hear it." PEOPLE HOLDING UP SIGNS / CHILDREN HOLDING UP SIGNS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SINJAR RESIDENT, 21-YEAR-OLD SUZAN (SURNAME UNKNOWN), SAYING: "Our situation is a bit better now, but we are still frightened, some are suffering from psychological issues, we are still frightened of their (Islamic State) ideology." SIGNS READING (Arabic and English): "STOP YAZIDI GENOCIDE / YAZIDI GENOCIDE, THE DAY WHEN HUMANITY DIED" (SOUNDBITE) (Kurdish) SINJAR RESIDENT, 11-YEAR-OLD DALIA (SURNAME UNKNOWN), SAYING: "Some people told us they were civilians, not Daesh (Islamic State), but when we went it turned out that they were Daesh. They captured us when we were at home in the village Dugoreh, they took us, they pointed their gun at my dad's head, my father said he will get my mother, but they stopped himâ€¦ I can't say anymore." VARIOUS OF DALIA CRYING
- Embargoed: 17th August 2017 12:22
- Keywords: Yazidi religious community Islamic State militants beheaded marking third anniversary sex slaves kidnapped shot burned alive killed
- Location: SINJAR, IRAQ
- City: SINJAR, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0016SLQIBR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Iraq's Yazidis marked three years since Islamic State launched what the United Nations said was a genocidal campaign against them on Thursday (August 3), but their ordeal is far from over despite the ouster of the jihadist fighters.
Militants were driven out of the last part of the Yazidi homeland in northern Iraq in May, but most have yet to return to villages they fled when Islamic State over-ran Sinjar in the summer of 2014, killing and capturing thousands because of their faith.
Nearly 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain in Islamic State captivity, and control over Sinjar is disputed by rival armed factions and their regional patrons. Justice for the crimes Yazidis suffered, including sexual enslavement, has also so far proved elusive.
"We are still frightened," one woman told Reuters at a ceremony attended by several thousand people including the mayor and other local dignitaries held at a temple at the foot of the mountain that dominates Sinjar.
Thousands of captured men were killed in what a United Nations commission called a genocide against the Yazidis, a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. Islamic State considers Yazidis as devil-worshippers.
At least 9,900 of Iraq's Yazidis were killed or kidnapped in just days in the Islamic State attack in 2014, according to a study documenting the number of Yazidis affected which could be used as evidence in any trial for genocide.
About 3,100 Yazidis were killed - with more than half shot, beheaded or burned alive - and about 6,800 kidnapped to become sex slaves or fighters, according to the report published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.
The array of forces that drove Islamic State out of Sinjar are now vying for control of the area near the borders of Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
Kurdish peshmerga forces retook around half of Sinjar in late 2015, effectively annexing it to the autonomous region they hope to convert into an independent state. A referendum on independence is due to be held in September, which the government in Baghdad opposes.
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