Syria: Former Yazidi IS captive found at Al-Hol camp after eight years in SDF raid

Syria: Former Yazidi IS captive found at Al-Hol camp after eight years in SDF raid
Syrian Kurdish fighters have found a Yazidi woman who was held captive for 8 years by IS as they swept the Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria.
2 min read
14 September, 2022
The SDF have cracked down on a militant network operating in the massive camp [Getty]

A Yazidi woman who was kidnapped and tortured by the Islamic State group (IS) in 2014 has been found at a notorious refugee camp in Syria, Iraqi Kurdish media revealed on Tuesday.

The woman was found at Al-Hol camp, eastern Syria, as US-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters continued an operation in the camp to crack down on suspected militants and extremists.

Al-Hol is administered by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and holds thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, including some relatives of IS fighters. Foreign relatives of IS fighters are also present in the camp.

The SDF detained dozens of IS militants and rescued four women who were being held chained in tunnels at the massive camp in northeastern Syria, the US military said on Wednesday.

The operation, which has gone on for two weeks, is part of an ongoing effort to dissolve a major IS network at the camp, which is widely seen as a potential breeding ground for extremists.

In the summer of 2014, IS kidnapped and slaughtered what is believed to be thousands of Yazidis in northern Iraq’s Sinjar region, and forced many women and girls into sexual slavery.

The terror group once controlled large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and continues to wage a low-level insurgency in both countries.

Hussein Qaidi, officially in charge of following up on the situation of Yazidis in the self-autonomous Kurdish region, confirmed to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site that the total number of Yazidis kidnapped by IS was about 6,400, as well as 15 Christians.

He told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that 3,532 people have been "liberated" including 339 men and 1,199 women and children.

"The total number of missing people is more than 1,900. Work is underway to uncover their fate," he said.

Several Yazidi women from northern Iraq have been found in recent months in Syria, who have been handed over to relevant authorities.

Many remain hesitant about returning home to Iraq following the August 2014 genocide fearing ostracisation despite efforts by Baghdad to convince them to return.