More than two dozen women and children from the Izadi minority group have been repatriated to Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh after years of captivity at the hands of Daesh terrorists in neighboring Syria.
“Today, we will hand over 25 people -- 10 women and 15 children -- to the Izadi Council in Sinjar,” Ziyad Rustam, an official with a Kurdish-run group that reunites rescued Izadi children with their relatives, told AFP on Saturday, adding, “They will be sent to their families.”
The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces last month announced the defeat of Daesh after tens of thousands of people streamed out of the last vestige of the terror group’s territorial rule in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.
The media bureau of Iraqi pro-government Popular Mobilization Units – better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi – announced in a statement on March 12 that a dozen Izadi children had been reunited with their families after a delicate intelligence operation.
On March 2, a group of Izadi women and children, who had been freed a week earlier from the clutches of Daesh Takfiris, were reunited with their families in Iraq.
Overjoyed families met their loved ones at a rural truck stop on the road linking Sinjar to Dohuk city.
The group of three Izadi women and 18 children had crossed into Iraq from Syria the previous day. They were among thousands of civilians who fled Baghouz.
Last August, an official at the Endowments and Religious Affairs Ministry of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government said more than 3,000 members of the Izadi minority group had remained unaccounted for ever since Daesh overran their hometowns in northern Iraq in 2014.
Khairi Bozarni said more than 2,500 Izadi Kurds had lost their lives at the hands of Daesh, while another 6,000 – mostly women and children – had been abducted.
He noted that 66 places of worship for the Izadis had also been desecrated or destroyed by the terror group.
Bozarni called on the international community as well as the central government in Baghdad to determine the fate of missing Izadis as soon as possible.
Back in August 2014, Daesh terrorists overran Sinjar, killing, raping, and enslaving large numbers of Izadi Kurds.
The region was recaptured in November 2015, during an operation by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Izadi fighters.