SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Co-president of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Bafel Talabani on Thursday offered congratulations to Yazidis on the occasion of Jama Feast.
In a statement, Talabani hoped the Yazidis celebrate the feast days in a “peaceful and secure” environment.
The Kurdish Yazidi feast of Jama takes place from October 6-13 every year at the Lalish Temple in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province.
Talabani also hoped “this occasion will be a step to heal the wounds of the Yazidi genocide disaster, reconstruct Sinjar, and return the displaced people to their home”, according to the statement.
“The PUK will be the preserver of Yezidi culture and the religion of Yazidis, which is an example of the beauty of the great image of the Kurdistan Region, for acceptance and coexistence of all religions, nations and different structures,” he said.
On Wednesday, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani said he would reassure the Yazidis that the Region would continue with its duty of “rescuing and uncovering the fate of Yazidis who are still missing”.
“We continue to exert all our efforts to help all displaced Yazidis return to their home areas,” he said in a statement.
Islamic State (ISIS) militants overran the Yazidi faith’s heartland of Sinjar in northern Iraq in 2014, forcing young women into servitude as “wives” for its fighters and massacring men and older women.
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.
In August, the Kurdistan Region’s office of rescuing kidnapped Yazidis said there were 550,000 Yazidis living in Iraq.
As many as 360,000 Yazidis had been displaced due to ISIS attacks, the office said in a statement. Up to 150,000 of them had returned to their areas.
It further said 1,293 Yazidis had been killed and 82 mass graves had been found so far.
“Sixty-eight temples had been exploded,” it added.
As many as 6,417 Yazidis had been kidnapped, including 1,548 women, according to the office.
“The number of kidnapped Yazidis who were martyred by ISIS was 104,” it said.