The Yazidis of northern Iraq, an ancient religious minority brutally persecuted by Islamic State, want nothing more than peace, security and a better life in their home town of Sinjar – but they want it on their terms.
Many there distrust a new security and reconstruction plan unveiled this week by the Baghdad government and Kurdish regional authorities which hailed it as a “historic” agreement.
“The deal could pacify Sinjar – but it might also make the situation even worse,” said Talal Saleh, a Yazidi in exile in nearby Kurdistan.
The Yazidis have suffered since IS marauded into Sinjar in 2014, one of the Sunni extremist group’s conquests that shocked the West into military action to stop it.
IS viewed the Yazidis as devil worshippers for their faith that combines Zoroastrian, Christian, Manichean, Jewish and Muslim beliefs.
It slaughtered more than 3,000 Yazidis, enslaved 7,000 women and girls and displaced most of its 550,000-strong community.