The Islamic State group released about 200 Yazidis held for five months in Iraq, mostly elderly, infirm captives who likely slowed the extremists down, Kurdish military officials said today. Almost all of the freed prisoners are in poor health and bore signs of abuse and neglect. Three were young children. The former captives were being questioned and receiving medical treatment today in the town of Alton Kupri. Gen. Shirko Fatih, commander of Kurdish peshmerga forces in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, said it appears the militants released the prisoners because they were too much of a burden. "It probably became too expensive to feed them and care for them," he said.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled in August when the Islamic State group captured the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, near the Syrian border. But hundreds were taken captive by the group, with some Yazidi women forced into slavery. The militants transported the captives from the northern town of Tal Afar and dropped them off yesterday at the Khazer Bridge, near the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil. "Their situation is very bad, especially the psychological condition," said a rep from the Irbil governor's office. Maha Faris Qassem, 35, was released with her two young sons, both of whom were covered from head to toe in bug bites which appear to be infected. "I don't know the details of why they released us," said Gawre Semo, 69. "They are very bad people. They took our children and they took the women. They did bad things with us. We've been humiliated by them."