Threat­ened Yezidis ask for help

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

The Yezidis have been tar­geted by ex­trem­ists once again. Last week six young Kur­dish Yezidis were killed by in­sur­gents and nearly 900 fam­i­lies from Rabia’a and Khanke ar­eas have fled their homes in re­sponse to an ul­ti­ma­tum by the Is­lamic ex­trem­ists who warned them to leave or be killed.

The Yezidis have been tar­geted by ex­trem­ists once again. Last week six young Kur­dish Yezidis were killed by in­sur­gents and nearly 900 fam­i­lies from Rabia’a and Khanke ar­eas have fled their homes in re­sponse to an ul­ti­ma­tum by the Is­lamic ex­trem­ists who warned them to leave or be killed.

Fol­low­ing the events, the Yezidis from Xana­soor Com­mu­nity staged protests against the killings and the threats, ask­ing the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dent to come to their as­sis­tance and show de­ter­mi­na­tion in the face of the ter­ror­ist ag­gres­sors.

Bashar Hameed, a Yezidi boy, who par­tic­i­pated in the demon­stra­tion, said that so far the Iraqi PM Noori al-Ma­liki hasn’t been able to pro­tect the Yezidis and Shabaks from the in­sur­gents’ threats and now it is Kur­dis­tan Pres­i­dent’s turn to play a more ac­tive role to res­cue the Yezidis from be­ing mas­sa­cred.

Lazgeen Nawaf, an­other Yezidi cit­i­zen, said “There is al­ways threat to us. The only forces that have tried to pro­tect us are the Pesh­marga and the Kur­dish se­cu­rity forces.”

Aim­ing to make some money to raise their fam­i­lies, many Yezidis headed to Rabia’a to do farm­ing. But all of them were forced to leave their lands af­ter re­ceiv­ing death threats from the in­sur­gents.

Head of the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Head­quar­ters in Shan­gal, Sar­bast Bapiri, said that Rabia’a has been con­trolled by the in­sur­gents who have given the res­i­dents of the area only 24 hours ul­ti­ma­tum to leave.

The Kur­dish au­thor­i­ties have sta­tioned their forces around Shan­gal town to pro­tect the cit­i­zens. “If the Iraqi Govern­ment per­mits us to go to Rabia’a, we will send Pesh­marga and the se­cu­rity forces to fight the in­sur­gents. We have the abil­ity to clean the Rabia’a from ex­trem­ists and to nor­mal­ize the se­cu­rity con­di­tions just like what we cre­ated in Shan­gal town af­ter 2003,” said Bapiri

Sixty thou­sand Yezidis are be­lieved to live in Iraq, of whom 80 per­cent are con­cen­trated in the towns of Bashika and Shan­gal. Yezidis have long faced dis­crim­i­na­tion in Iraq due to their dif­fer­ent re­li­gious be­liefs and tra­di­tions.

Nearly 4,000 Yezidi fam­i­lies live as farm­ers around the Ra- bia re­gion. It has been re­ported that some 900 fam­i­lies had fled their homes af­ter the lat­est death threats.

Yezidis have long suf­fered from dis­crim­i­na­tion in Iraq in mat­ters such as em­ploy­ment and ed­u­ca­tion. But now, with sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence es­ca­lat­ing across Iraq, the death threats have be­come even more se­ri­ous.

In sym­pa­thy with the flee­ing fam­i­lies, nearly 2,000 fel­low Yezidis poured into the down­town area in protest to the killings and the forced ex­o­dus. Most of the demon­stra­tors de­manded KRG pro­tec­tion in the face of the grave threats to their safety.

This Pic­ture shows some Yezidis pray­ing for their mar­tyred rel­a­tives.

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