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December 4, 2017  09:36

Half of Yazidis kidnapped in northern Iraq by ISIS still missing

Around half of the Yazidis kidnapped by Daesh (ISIS) three years ago in northern Iraq are still missing, Iraqi Kurdish officials said Sunday, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.

STEPANAKERT, DECEMBER 4, ARTSAKHPRESS:In 2014, Daesh militants killed thousands of Yazidis in Shangal (Sinjar) province in northern Iraq, and kidnapped thousands of women from the religious minority to abuse them as sex slaves.

Kurdish fighters, backed by the US-led coalition against Daesh, captured Sinjar from the militants in November 2015, before Iraqi security forces took control of the region in October.

Khairi Bozani, a top official with the Religious Affairs Ministry of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, said that some 6,417 Yazidis were abducted by the militants from August 3, 2014. Up until Dec. 1, 2017, only 3,207 of them have been rescued or managed to flee, Bozani said.

The remaining 3,210 Yazidis—including 1,507 women or girls—were still either held by the militants or considered missing, he added. 

The ministry’s figures show that 2,525 Yazidi children are now orphans.

According to Bozani, 47 mass graves containing the remains of Yazidis have been found since 2014.

The UN has called the massacres of Yazidis a genocide, arguing that Daesh had planned them and then intentionally separated men from women to prevent Yazidi children from being born.

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