Greece 16 Apr 2016 00:00
Yazidis are a religious group of about half a million people native to the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh. They share the same language and much of the culture of the Kurds of Turkey and Syria. As adherents of pre-Islamic Gnostic teachings they have been subjected to years of strong repression. In the last two years they have been one of the main targets of ethnic cleansing by ISIS militiamen, along with Christians and Shiites. In early August 2014 thousands of Yazidis fled towards the mountains of Sinjar as ISIS launched an offensive in northern Iraq. ISIS forces massacred over 5000 Yazidi men and kidnapped thousands of women who were sold into slavery in Mosul and Raqqa, Syria. Those who survived the attacks were trapped on the mountains of Sinjar without food, water or medical care, facing starvation, dehydration and the risk of further attacks by ISIS for several weeks. Fortunately PKK and YPG Kurdish forces opened a corridor from the mountains to Rojava ( Northern Syria, led by kurdish forces ) allowing them to flee to safety. Thousands of Yazidis took refuge in Rojava or in Kurdish areas in Turkey. Like the many refugees fleeing war zones, thousands of Yazidis try to escape to safer zones in Europe, where their tragedy continues. Stopped at the gates of Europe, they end up in refugee camps like the notorious Idomeni, between Greece and Macedonia. Here in makeshift tents on the Skopje railway line they are surrounded by waste, toxic fumes and mud. There are still over 1200 Yazidis who have been stuck for over a month waiting for the reopening of the border, closed at the beginning of March by Macedonian authorities with the silent approval of Europe; the same Europe that at the time of Yazidi's flight to the Sinjar mountains was crying for them, and which now closes its eyes to them.