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Iraq: Scores of Yazidi hostages escape from Islamic State

Yezidi refugees celebrate the liberation of Sinjar last year [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 March, 2016

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In the second escape of its kind, 29 Yazidi hostages including women and children escaped from Islamic State, taking advantage of weather conditions to slip into Erbil
Up to 29 Yazidi hostages including women and children have escaped from the Islamic State group and arrived in areas held by the Kurdish Peshmerga.

The hostages escaped on Saturday night and fled on foot to Kurdish-held areas near Sinjar, west of Erbil, and are in very bad condition, a Kurdish official told The New Arab.

The men, women and children who escaped had been held by IS for two years. They slipped unnoticed thanks to bad weather conditions and visibility, the Kurdish official added.

"The victims suffer from malnutrition and have been taken to a specialised medical centre," he said.

This is the second escape of its kind by Yezidis in Nineveh province. In mid-December, 17 Yazidi hostages escaped from an IS prison.

More than 1,000 people, including entire families, are thought to be held hostage by the radical jihadi group since it overran vast swaths of Iraq in June 2014.

Kurdish forces have since been able to recapture several cities with the help of the US-led coalition, including Sinjar, Makhoul and Makhmour in Nineveh close to Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Yazidis are a religious minority viewed as heretics by jihadis. Islamic State has committed mass executions and enslavement against their community.

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