Is­lamic State re­leases 200 Yazidis

* Almost all the freed pris­on­ers have signs of abuse and are in poor health *It seems they were re­leased be­cause they were too much of a bur­den *They are now be­ing held by Kur­dish au­thor­i­ties for ques­tion­ing

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

The Is­lamic State group has re­leased about 200 Yazidis after five months of cap­tiv­ity, mostly el­derly pris­on­ers who may have been slow­ing the ex­trem­ists down.

Gen­eral Shirko Fatih, com­man­der of Kur­dish forces in Kirkuk, said almost all of the freed pris­on­ers are in poor health and bore signs of abuse and ne­glect. Three young chil­dren are among them.

The mil­i­tants trans­ported the cap­tives from the north­ern town of Tal Afar, where they were be­ing held for the past five months after the mil­i­tants raided their towns last sum­mer. They dropped them off at the Khazer Bridge, near the Kur­dish re­gional cap­i­tal of Er­bil.

Gen Fatih said the re­leased are now be­ing held by Kur­dish au­thor­i­ties for ques­tion­ing.

He said it ap­pears the mil­i­tants re­leased the pris­on­ers be­cause they were too much of a bur­den.

'It prob­a­bly be­came too ex­pen­sive to feed them and care for them,' he said.

Tens of thou­sands of Yazidis fled in Au­gust when the Is­lamic State group cap­tured the north­ern town of Sin­jar, near the Syr­ian bor­der. But hun- dreds were taken cap­tive by the group, par­tic­u­larly the women, some of whom have been sold as slaves.

Hersh Hus­sein, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Er­bil Gov­er­nor's of­fice who was in Al­ton Kupri, said the con­di­tion of the re­leased cap­tives was 'very bad, es­pe­cially the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tion.'

'We pro­vide them with the first aid and the most ur­gent med­i­cal treat­ment,' he said.

Maha Faris Qassem, 35, was re­leased with her two young sons, both of whom were cov­ered from head to toe in in­sect bites which ap­peared to be in­fected.

She said the con­di­tions of their cap­tiv­ity were so dire that in­fec­tion was in­evitable.

About 50,000 Yazidis - half of them chil­dren ac­cord­ing to United Na­tions fig­ures - fled to the moun­tains out­side Sin­jar dur- ing the on­slaught. Some still re­main there.

The Sunni mil­i­tants of the Is­lamic State group view Yazidis and Shi­ite Mus­lims as non-be­liev­ers. They have de­manded the Yazidis con­ver­sion to Is­lam or face death in many cases.

" I don't know the de­tails of why they re­leased us," Gawre Semo, 69, told The As­so­ci­ated Press." They are very bad peo­ple. They took our chil­dren and they took the women. They did bad things with us. We've been hu­mil­i­ated by them."

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