During the summer of 2014 the Islamic State (IS) seized the Sinjar district of Ninewa province. Afterward they singled out the local Yazidi population for mass execution and slavery. IS would go into a village, separate the men from women, take the males away and shoot them, while ferrying the females to different parts of the province or Syria to be used for sex, slavery or marriage to fighters. Later in the year Kurdish and Yazidi forces retook the area. Recently there have been reports of Yazidi and Turkish Kurds taking revenge on Arabs they blame for collaborating with IS.
At the end of January 2015, Yazidi and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters from Turkey were accused of attacking four villages in the Sinjar district. According to Reuters on January 25 they went into Sibaya and Chiri and then Khazuga and Sayer the next day. The villages were surrounded and then the Yazidi and PKK men went through them killing 21-25 and taking away another 17-50 depending upon the news source. The peshmerga stopped a further two towns from being assaulted. Yazidis from neighboring Gohbal said that all the Arabs in Sibaya were IS supporters and had looted Yazidi homes after the area was taken. Afterward two Yazidis were killed probably as a reprisal.
The Yazidi community in Sinjar was devastated by IS. There are still hundreds of their women under IS captivity, and parts of their land are still occupied by the Islamists. The desire for revenge is strong. Unlike in other parts of Iraq it is not Sunnis specifically that are being blamed, but Arabs in general that are being vilified. Some Yazidis are now seeking payback as seen by the attacks upon the four villages. This is just another sign of how Iraqi society is fraying and the devastating impact the Islamic State has wrought upon the country. Its legacy will have a lasting negative effect upon the nation with score settling just one of them.
Coles, Isabel, “Iraqi Yazidis take revenge as Islamic State atrocities unearthed,” Reuters, 2/10/15
Joumah, Khales, “The Sinjar Massacre: Yazidis Take Revenge Against Extremists’ Collaborators,” Niqash, 1/29/15