Rescued Ezidi Boy Hopes To Join His Family In Canada
An Ezidi boy rescued from the battlefield in Mosul after three years in Islamic State captivity asked on Tuesday (July 25) to be reunited with his mother, who was granted asylum in Canada after escaping from the militants herself.
Twelve-year-old Imad Tammo was captured by Islamic State along with his family in the summer of 2014 when the militants overran the Sinjar area in northern Iraq, purging its Ezidi population.
Thousands of Ezidi women were enslaved by the militants, who killed hundreds of adult men and took boys, including Imad, away for military and ideological training.
As the battle for Mosul drew to an end after nine months of grueling urban combat, Imad's uncle received a call saying that his nephew had been found alive by Iraqi forces. His mother learned from photographs circulated on social media that her son had been rescued, prompting her to contact the boy's uncle to renew contact with him.
ISIS has hounded ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq since seizing the city of Mosul in June 2014, killing and displacing thousands of Christians, Shabaks and Turkmen who lived for centuries in one of the most diverse parts of the Middle East.
Proclaiming a theocratic caliphate based on a radical interpretation of Sunni Islam, ISIS has tried to erase the Ezidis' identity by forcing men to choose between conversion to Islam or death, raping girls as young as nine, selling women at slave markets, and drafting boys to fight.
The Ezidis, thought to number several hundred thousand in Iraq before they came under attack by ISIS, are an ethno-religious group whose ancient religion has elements of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam.