Yazidi survivor releases book documenting her ordeal under ISIS

Shafaq News/Yazidi survivor Hiyam Bekr has released an English-language book recounting her harrowing experiences and the injustice she suffered during her kidnapping by Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014.

Bekr, who now lives in Australia, told Shafaq News Agency that after her liberation she suggested to fellow Yazidi author Sheilan Khedidaw, also based in Australia, the idea of ​​writing a book about her life and the suffering she endured. under ISIS captivity. The result was ‘The Woman Who Escaped ISIS Hell’, which was excellently received by both critics and audiences in her country of residence.

“The book has been distributed in libraries and has generated significant interest in several cities in Australia,” Bekr explains. “I am currently in the process of translating the book into multiple languages ​​and distributing it worldwide to raise global awareness of the injustices suffered by Yazidi women and the Yazidi community as a whole. I urge the international community to pay attention to the plight of the Yazidis, especially Yazidi women who suffered immensely during their abduction by the extremist group.”

Bekr, a 26-year-old resident of Sinjar, was kidnapped along with her three children during ISIS’s invasion of their region in 2014. She was freed in 2015 with the help of the Kurdistan Regional Office for Kidnapped and Abducted Persons.

Sinjar is a Yazidi-majority city in Iraq’s northern Nineveh Governorate, which suffered greatly during the 2014 ISIS attack, leading to genocide and other systematic abuses against its communities. But with ISIS no longer a major threat, political disorder and security skirmishes continue to hinder the war-scarred community’s recovery.

Sinjar is considered one of fourteen disputed areas claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil, defined by the government’s rivalry over control of the territory. Moreover, because Sinjar borders Syria’s al-Hasakah province to the northwest and Turkey’s Silopi province to the northeast, it remains in a regional dilemma.

Under the auspices of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed a security and stability agreement for Sinjar district on October 29, 2020, aimed at reconciliation.

On the security front, the agreement calls for the deportation of all armed groups and the deployment of 2,500 local security forces to Sinjar. However, the call for local police to regain control of the area remains crucial if not implemented. The agreement also mentions the withdrawal of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party from the Sinjar district. The PKK moved to Sinjar in 2014 with the benefit of a security vacuum as ISIS attacks followed. Shortly after the establishment of the Sinjar resistance units, a political wing was established under the Sinjar Democratic Autonomous Council and the Yazidi Freedom and Democracy Party. With the integration of the PKK and the recruitment of Yazidis into the YBS to help with the security of the area, this created even more obstacles to the group’s departure.

However, despite the KRG’s repeated calls, the agreement, which was introduced to the public with minimal consultation from the local community, remains stalled and there is little appetite for implementation.