Dozens of Yazidis Rescued by Iraqi Troops

Displaced Yazidis flee IS toward the Syrian border  in August 2014. (File Photo)Displaced Yazidis flee IS toward the Syrian border  in August 2014. (File Photo)

A group of 36 Yazidi survivors has been rescued in Iraq after three years of “slavery” under IS rule in northern Iraq, the United Nations said on Sunday.

The group of men, women and children from the persecuted religious sect was freed by Iraqi forces fighting to retake Mosul from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, according to local media, Aljazeera reported.

The women and girls have received lodging, clothing and medical and psychological assistance in Duhok—a Kurdish city north of Mosul, since Friday, Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said.

“What these women and girls have endured is unimaginable,” Grande said in a statement.

IS systematically killed, captured and enslaved thousands of Yazidis in the summer of 2014 as they overran the Sinjar area, where many of the minority group lived. UN investigators have said that constitutes genocide.

After months of fighting to retake western Mosul, a senior Iraqi commander said on Sunday he expects to dislodge IS from its de facto capital in the country sometime next month.

The battle should be completed “in a maximum of three weeks”, the army’s chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Othman al-Ghanimi, was quoted as saying by state-run newspaper al-Sabah on Sunday.

A US-led international coalition is providing air-and-ground support for the offensive in Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq, which fell to the hardcore fighters in June 2014.

IS has lost most of the city’s districts since the offensive began in October and is now surrounded in the northwestern districts.


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