March 1, 2019 / 2:15 PM / 8 months ago

Yazidis freed from Islamic State captivity in Syria, returned to Iraq

SINUNI, Iraq (Reuters) - A group of Yazidi women and children returned to Iraq from Syria on Friday after more than four years in Islamic State captivity.

The group includes three women and 18 children, witnesses told Reuters. They were greeted by residents of Sinuni, a Yazidi town north of Sinjar mountain.

The group’s return was confirmed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) office which helps return missing Yazidis. An official said his office had helped in efforts to bring the group back home.

The women and children returned to Iraq more than four years after Islamic State militants launched an assault on Sinjar, the Yazidi heartland, on Aug. 3, 2014.

The militants shot, beheaded, burned alive or kidnapped more than 9,000 members of the minority religion, in what the United Nations has called a genocidal campaign against them. According to community leaders, more than 3,000 Yazidis remain unaccounted for.

Reporting by Reuters pictures and Ari Jalal in Dohuk; writing by Raya Jalabi; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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