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Iraq's Sinjar in ruins after liberation from Islamic State

Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 01:40

Kurdish forces find the Iraqi town of Sinjar largely abandoned and in ruins after driving Islamic State militants out. Sean Carberry reports.

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Islamic State has been driven out of Sinjar, but, the question now is whether the physical and social fabric of the Iraqi town can be rebuilt. It was once home to some 200,000 people: mostly Kurdish and Arab Muslims, as well as Christians and Yazidis - a faith that combines elements of several ancient religions. Islamic State captured Sinjar last year, murdering hundreds and enslaving thousands of Yazidis, a religion they consider devil-worship. A grave containing the remains of more than 70 older Yazidi women was discovered east of Sinjar over the weekend. Since Kurdish forces retook the town last week, Yazidis, like this fighter, have been pillaging the homes of Sunni Muslims they accuse of collaborating in the atrocities committed against them. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED YAZIDI MAN FIGHTING WITH KURDISH PESHMERGA, SAYING: "It's not revenge. They took our belongings, now we are taking theirs. They have left and they are now working with Islamic State. They'll never return." Senior Yazidi commander Qassem Shesho said Kurdish forces received no support from Baghdad in liberating Sinjar, and the Iraqi flag is no longer welcome there. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SENIOR YAZIDI COMMANDER, QASSEM SHESHO, SAYING: "Those who didn't hurt people and who didn't cooperate with Islamic State can return. We don't have any problem with them. But they have to live under the flag of Kurdistan." But, rival Kurdish factions are staking out territory, adding to fears of further violence in the town. Most Yazidis are still living in camps in Kurdistan. They say they will only return to Sinjar permanently if provided with heavy weapons, and a guarantee of protection from the international community.

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Iraq's Sinjar in ruins after liberation from Islamic State

Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 01:40