Mass graves of Yazidis uncovered

By Ali al-Mawsawi

Azzaman, December 30, 2014

Kurdish forces have discovered nine mass graves of members of Yazidi community whom Islamic State (IS) militants had killed and mass buried when they overrun their areas northwest of the city of Mosul, said Khairi Bawzani the head of Yazidi endowments in the Kurdish autonomous region.

The graves were found in the areas which Kurdish forces have wrested from IS around the town of Sinjar, about 120 kilometers northwest of Mosul.

The jihadist group occupied Sinjar and the adjacent villages in August this year, forcing tens of thousands of Yazidis to flee, killing many of their men and taking thousands of their women as slaves.

Bawzani gave no figures on the number of people buried in those graves but has urged Kurdish and Iraqi authorities to send forensic experts to examine the bodies and determine their identity.

The militants had destroyed 18 Yazidi shrines and forced the Yazidi girls and women they had taken prisoner to convert to Islam and get married to their men.

Many of the women were raped and Bawzani said Germany had agreed to provide counsel and psychological treatment to up to 1000 Yazidi women who were sexually abused by IS militants.

The Yazidis are one of the world’s most secretive communities. They follow a religion which includes elements from different faiths and are among the most tolerant and peaceful communities in the word.

But in IS jihadists’ eyes they are seen as infidels and must be killed and their women taken prisoner.

When the militants invaded their areas in Sinjar, most of the town’s inhabitants of nearly 50,000 escaped and were trapped in the nearby mountains without food or water.

But thousands failed to make it to the mountains and were taken prisoner. IS militants killed the men they captured because they refused to convert to Islam band and took women prisoner.