ISIS Releases 216 Yazidis After 8 Months

Kurds say former prisoners bear signs of abuse, include kids
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 8, 2015 9:23 AM CDT
In this Jan. 17, 2015, file photo, a man hugs an elderly Yazidi after being released by ISIS as Yazidis arrive in Kirkuk, Iraq.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – The Islamic State released more than 200 Yazidis today after holding them for eight months, an Iraqi Kurdish security official says, the latest mass release of captives by the extremists. Gen. Hiwa Abdullah says most of the freed 216 prisoners are in poor health and bear signs of abuse and neglect. He adds that about 40 children are among those released, while the rest are elderly. No reason was given for the release of the prisoners, who were originally abducted from the area around Sinjar.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled in August when ISIS captured the northern Iraqi town, but hundreds were taken captive by the group, with some Yazidi women forced into slavery, according to international rights groups and Iraqi officials. In January, ISIS released some 200 Yazidi prisoners as well. At the time, Kurdish military officials said they believed the extremists released the prisoners as they were too much of a burden. Today's handover took place in Himera just southwest of Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad. The freed Yazidis were taken away by ambulances and buses to receive treatment and care.

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