Former IS slaves try to rebuild lives

For Yazidi women like Laila Taloo, the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate meant death to their men, rape and slavery for them. IS no longer holds any territory in Iraq and Syria, but many Yazidis are still missing. (May 21)

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Long-persecuted Yazidis open world’s largest temple | AFP

Worshippers kiss the marble walls and gaze at an ornate peacock inlaid with multi-coloured stones as the world’s largest Yazidi temple opens in Armenia. An ancient ethnic group long persecuted for their faith, Yazidis have found a safehaven in the ex-Soviet Caucasus country, where they have a community of around 35,000, and are able to freely practice their religion.

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Eye for eye? Entire Iraqi families reportedly killed by Yazidis because their tribes helped ISIS

Yezidi fighters reportedly kidnapped and executed 52 civilians from two Iraqi tribes back in June 2017. The Yezidis are an ethno-religious group in the country, which abide by their own moral code.

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Hunted by ISIS: Yazidi women sold as sex slaves, children forced to be soldiers

After the fall of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, more tales of horror are emerging of life with the terrorists. Kurdish-minority families in Iraq known as Yazidis suffered capture, death or enslavement. Our correspondent Murad Gazdiev has been speaking with some of the families who managed to survive the ordeal. We’ll show you the full interviews on Thursday. Here’s some of what’s to come.

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What The US Needs To Do To Prevent A New ISIS in Iraq

Shelly Culbertson, senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, explains the steps that the US can take in leading the stabilization effort in Iraq to prevent the rise of a new ISIS. Following is a transcript of the video.

Shelly Culbertson: I’m Shelly Culbertson, I’m a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and I study issues in the Middle East related to refugees, stabilization, and public sector development.

We’ve concluded that unless a series of urgent steps take place over the coming year to provide some of the prerequisites for Iraq to get back on a path to stability, violence could resume once again in a matter of months.

Given all of the American lives that we’ve lost, and the many, many Iraqi lives that have been lost, it’s very much in US national interest to take a leading role in the stabilization of Mosul and other parts of Iraq as well as in the military victory.

The US has actually taken a very large role in the humanitarian effort. The US is the largest donor to humanitarian assistance and so its ongoing and sustained and additional support is really needed in order to prevent that to happen.

Mosul will require a number of steps in order to rebuild it and to set it back on a path to prosperity. I think many of the most important steps that are required will happen during the first year. Really providing a lot of the prerequisites so that it can rebuild and get on a path to growth again.

So one of those is figuring out how to deal with the displaced people that are from Mosul. So about 800 thousand people are still living displaced out of Mosul. So working on policies and plans to help them get back home. But for them to be able to come back home, they have to be able to go home and find intact homes, health, education, and so forth that are there.

One big obstacle to them going home is the level of explosive hazards that ISIS left. ISIS left mines, booby traps, etcetera really on an industrial scale. They did this as a tactic to keep civilians from coming back home. So they mined hospitals, pharmacies, schools, water lines, the level of baby cribs. A really big first step in order to make all of this happen is significant investment in demining. Not just in public utilities and services, but also in housing.

A next important step is making sure that the city is secure. In order to secure Mosul and prevent ISIS from moving right back in, the city requires about 60 thousand troops just to maintain the status quo. And unfortunately there’s a risk that because of the ongoing fight against ISIS elsewhere that those troops could be drawn off.

Mosul also needs about 25 thousand trained police, and to date about 15 thousand have been hired and trained. And while the coalition is working on training other police, police who are important to keep the peace in the streets, prevent reprisals, prevent looting, that training isn’t fast enough, so the situation is pretty urgent.

Mosul also requires investment in its public services. Rebuilding some of the water, electricity, sewage lines. That’s under way. Schools are starting to open. But many of these things need a bit of a long-term plan. Both to build infrastructure, get the people back — the staff, the doctors, the nurses, the teachers — and to help do some of the indoctrination that happened during that time.

And finally, some bigger issues regarding governance and reconciliation will need to be addressed. Many communities in Ninawa Province, of which Mosul is the capital, just don’t trust each other any more. There’s a lot of trauma between the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Christians, the Yazidis, the Turkmen and so forth. And so there are some important steps that need to happen in terms of local reconciliation in addition to working with Baghdad on a broader national plan for reconciliation, particularly in a roadmap among the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Kurds, and others.

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‘International community not punishing crime’ – Yazidis on ongoing genocide

It’s been three years since the genocide of the Yazidis, a Kurdish religious minority in Syria and Iraq. And the crisis is far from over with the UN acknowledging that the genocide is ongoing.

RT’s Polly Boiko spoke to Yazidis who say the international community hasn’t been doing much to help them.

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Reclaiming Sinjar: Pushing Back the Islamic State

Islamic State (IS) fighters swept into the Iraqi city of Sinjar in August 2014, forcing Kurdish peshmerga forces to retreat. The city, primarily made up of Yazidis, a religious minority with roots going back thousands of years in the region, was soon overran with IS militants. They then set about terrorizing the Yazidis, who they see as apostates and devil worshippers who need to be cleansed.

Tens of thousands of people fled, with many ending up on in dire straits on nearby Mount Sinjar, creating an urgent humanitarian situation that led to US President Barack Obama ordering American jets to bomb IS for the first time. Thousands of Yazidis were killed by IS, with women being raped and enslaved to be sold as property. Mass graves are still being discovered.

Kurdish militias have battled for Sinjar since then without much progress. And up until now the city has remained under IS control.

Over the course of two days in mid-November, VICE News embedded with peshmerga forces as they retook the city in a massive push involving 7,500 troops, with the hopes of cutting off the resupply routes between IS territory in Syria and Iraq. Snaking through the desert in large convoys with heavy artillery and tanks, and backed by international coalition air strikes, they faced little resistance besides snipers, mortars, and IEDs as IS fled and the city was taken back.

Watch “The Road To Mosul (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1Kcm3uJ

In Photos “Kurdish Forces Celebrate Routing the Islamic State From Sinjar” – http://bit.ly/1QH4OW5

Read “Some Yazidis Hesitate to Return to Sinjar After Ousting of the Islamic State” – http://bit.ly/1Ydl57g

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Pushing Back the Islamic State (Trailer)

Islamic State (IS) fighters swept into the Iraqi city of Sinjar in August 2014, forcing Kurdish peshmerga forces to retreat. The city, primarily made up of Yazidis, a religious minority with roots going back thousands of years in the region, was soon overran with IS militants. They then set about terrorizing the Yazidis, who they see as apostates and devil worshippers who need to be cleansed.

Tens of thousands of people fled, with many ending up on in dire straits on nearby Mount Sinjar, creating an urgent humanitarian situation that led to US President Barack Obama ordering American jets to bomb IS for the first time. Thousands of Yazidis were killed by IS, with women being raped and enslaved to be sold as property. Mass graves are still being discovered.

Kurdish militias have battled for Sinjar since then without much progress. And up until now the city has remained under IS control.

Over the course of two days in mid-November, VICE News embedded with peshmerga forces as they retook the city in a massive push involving 7,500 troops, with the hopes of cutting off the resupply routes between IS territory in Syria and Iraq. Snaking through the desert in large convoys with heavy artillery and tanks, and backed by international coalition air strikes, they faced little resistance besides snipers, mortars, and IEDs as IS fled and the city was taken back.

Watch “The Road To Mosul (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1Kcm3uJ

In Photos “Kurdish Forces Celebrate Routing the Islamic State From Sinjar” – http://bit.ly/1QH4OW5

Read “Some Yazidis Hesitate to Return to Sinjar After Ousting of the Islamic State” – http://bit.ly/1Ydl57g

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Yazidi Refugees Escape Islamic State Fighters: The Battle for Iraq (Dispatch 6)

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Members of Iraq’s Yazidis sect follow an ancient religion, which incorporates elements of Islam and indigenous beliefs. After the Islamic State overran parts of northern Iraq, tens of thousands of Yazidis were forced into the Sinjar mountain range, where Islamic State militants — who consider the Yazidi devil worshippers — surrounded them.

President Obama claimed on August 14 that the US military intervention in Iraq broke the siege of the trapped Yazidi civilians in the Sinjar mountains. But the Yazidi themselves disagree. Instead, they are adamant that they owe their rescue from the surrounding Islamic State militants to the Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG). The YPG has been fighting the Islamic State longer and harder than any other group in Syria, and pushed a narrow escape route deep through Islamic State territory to rescue the Yazidis.

VICE News travelled through the desert corridor to ascertain the true story of the Yazidis’ last minute escape from the Islamic State.

Click to watch Part 1 of The Islamic State: http://bit.ly/1lENvT7

Click to watch all our dispatches from Iraq: http://bit.ly/1mhzkDN

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