Corridor must be opened to Mount Sinjar

Corridor must be opened to Mount Sinjar

Sait Hasan Sait, from the Yezidi Free Democratic Movement, has said there is an urgent need for a humanitarian corridor to be opened for more than ten thousand Yezidis stranded on Mount Sinjar.

Mount Sinjar is a mountain rising out of a plain, surrounded on all sides by gangs. For more than a month around ten thousand Yezidi Kurds can only make contact with the outside world by means of communication technology. Otherwise, they are cut off. There is no way through on the ground and no aid has been sent by air. Up to now they have survived on aid that reached them from Rojava when a corridor was open.

We asked Sait Hasan Sait, from the Yezidi Free Democratic Movement (TEVDA), about the latest situation in Sinjar.

You are on Mount Sinjar. How many families are sheltering there, what are conditions like and what needs do they have?

The people who are here wanted to stay as they want to protect the Yezidi faith and culture. Sinjar is a sacred place for the Yezidi people. We see their staying here as a most profound act. As TEVDA we are distributing aid and holding meetings with the people. There are 1,446 families registered with us. There are between ten and twelve thousand people on Mount Sinjar, trying to survive harsh winter weather. They need tents, winter clothes, shoes and fuel in order to keep warm.

How has TEVDA assisted the Yezidis on Mount Sinjar?

TEVDA is doing what it can to support the people here. We have made tents and distributed food.We have also established commissions in every camp. Institutions in Rojava are also helping us. This was certainly the case when the corridor was open, as aid was only received from Rojava.  

How are people surviving the harsh winter conditions?

When people have a will to survive they can overcome all hardship. This year winter has come early to Mount Sinjar. There has been a lot of rain. 85% of the families here have no tent. Half of the children have no shoes.

Has any organisation apart from TEVDA provided assistance?

Aid has only come from Rojava. Assistance collected by the Kurdish people have reached us by means of institutions in Rojava. Apart from that we have received a small amount of aid from the Federal Kurdistan government.

How important is it for the people here to have a corridor opened?

The Baghdad government in particular, and the Federal Kurdistan government have a responsibility to the people who are resisting here. It is therefore very important that a corridor be opened. An air bridge could be opened by the use of helicopters. The Yezidi people of Sinjar are Iraqi citizens, but the Baghdad government is not doing anything for them. In this case the state’s legitimacy comes into question. An air bridge is urgently needed.

Is there anything you would like to add?

As I’ve said, we have an urgent need for an aerial corridor. Apart from that many people have been slaughtered and women sold as slaves. This has all been done in the name of Islam. Muslim leaders should condemn this brutality. The ISIS gangs are causing harm to the religion of Islam.