Baghdad (Iraqinews.com) – An Iraqi lawmaker has urged an immediate intervention by the Iraqi government to release 120 kidnapped Yazidi children from Islamic State (IS) captivity.
“Nearly 120 Yazidi children, aged 10 to 13, are being brainwashed into fighting alongside the IS militants in Syria,” MP Vian Dakhil told Alsumaria News on Monday, revealing that those children were taken by force from their families in Sinjar district four years ago.
Dakhil alerted the Iraqi government that IS militants “force the kidnapped Yazidi children to wear military uniforms and fight within the group’s ranks in Syria.”
She further urged Iraqi troops stationed on the Iraqi-Syrian border to deal with those children as “victims, not as terrorists,” if they escaped into the Iraqi side.
In August 2014, IS militants launched an offensive in northern Iraq, executing thousands of Yazidi men and elderly women and forcing 300,000 Yazidis to flee. IS also sold more than 6,000 women and children into slavery, subjecting them to systematic mass rape that the UN and other countries have defined as genocide.
US-backed Kurdish forces drove IS out of Sinjar in November 2015, but few Yazidis have returned, and an estimated 3,500 remain in IS captivity in Iraq and Syria, according to Human Rights Watch.
The Islamic State group emerged in 2014 when it seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, declaring a plan to establish an Islamic “caliphate” from Mosul city.
However, Iraqi troops, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition, were able to defeat the militant group three years after it captured about a third of Iraq’s territory.