145 more Yazidis return to Shengal

Displaced by the ISIS onslaught in 2014, hundreds of Yazidi IDPs have returned to their hometown, Shengal, in recent days.

The Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement announced on Tuesday that 145 more Yazidis have returned to their hometown, Shengal, in the Kurdistan Region.

According to the ministry, the IDPs from Shengal were staying in the Bersiv Camp in Zakho. They were escorted by security forces in Duhok and Nineveh.

The return has taken place in line with the government’s program for the return of IDPs and the returnees are provided with basic needs, the ministry stated.

Since the beginning of 2023, over 5 thousand IDPs have returned to Shengal. According to Duhoq Migration Department, 26 thousand Kurdish families are living in the camps in Duhoq, where there are 11 refugee camps housing people from Rojava and 4 camps housing Yazidis.

The KDP, the ruling party in the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, has been preventing the return of Yazidi IDPs who moved to Duhoq, Hewler (Erbil) and Zakho after the ISIS onslaught in 2014.

Shengal (Sinjar) is the last contiguous settlement area of the Yazidi community. Thousands of Yazidis were murdered and thousands of women and children were taken prisoner in the 3 August 2014 onslaught on Shengal by ISIS militants. While ISIS gangs began murdering Yazidis in Shengal, the Peshmerga left, leaving the Yazidis behind. HPG-YJA Star guerrillas and YPG-YPJ fighters came to the Yazidi people's aid in the face of ISIS aggression.

After months of resistance, the fighters who saved the Yazidi people from a larger genocide liberated Shengal on 13 November 2015. After the liberation of the city, the HPG/YJA Star and YPG/YPJ subsequently withdrew in 2017. People who returned to their land after Shengal's independence reformed, established defensive units and built their institutions.

UN bodies and the European Parliament have recognised ISIS crimes as genocide, as have Armenia, Australia, the US House of Representatives, the Scottish Parliament and the German Parliament (Bundestag).