Sinjar ordeals: far from over
When Sinjar was liberated from Daesh or so called the Islamic state last month on 13/11/2015, everyone was exhilarated. A strategic and symbolic gain in the fight against Daesh and to the relief of the Yazidi community in Iraq and human rights supporters around the world.
While now the town is in the hands of the Kurdish forces, the wounds and the pains of the past is haunting everyone- the Yazidis and other inhabitants of Sinjar.
The Yazidis, a religious sect of nearly half a million population most of whom lives in Iraq, saw one of the worst crimes during the spread of Daesh. A UN report has said that the Islamic State “may have committed genocide and war crimes against the minority Yazidi community in Iraq.”
Sinjar is free but the Yazidis are still displaced and uncertain. Many still awaits news from their missing family members, while others do not want to return to the destroyed town.
The Yazidi women in particular saw one of the worst burst of violence when Daesh overran the town last year, 2014 in August, many were sold into sex slavery and others who managed to escape the unexpected attacks were displaced and stranded on mount Sinjar without food or water and forever traumatized.
Sinjar is liberated but horrors of the past is haunting the town’s future: finding 18 mass graves up to 10th of December 2015, the destruction of the town, the bomb implants left by Daesh, the looting of the homes after the liberation, rising of sectarian conflicts, and the tense air between the Kurdish factions, namely Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) over the control of the town as potentially another source of violence.
These photos were taken 3 weeks after freeing Sinjar on 6th and 7th of December.As a Kurdish journalist of independent background, getting into Sinjar is not easy as the numerous checkpoints leading to the town is controlled by the Peshmerga and Kurdish security forces. The authorities choose who can enter the town.