The precise nature of the horrors suffered by the Yezidis of Jidalê is unclear, but there is photographic evidence of killings of civilians and destruction of civilian property, which reaffirms the evidence that the Islamic State is an urbicidal, genocidal state.
The elimination of Jidale
On the 24th of August, the Islamic State advanced on the village. After heavy fighting, Kurdish defence units of HPG/PKK and Şingal resistance units (YBŞ) retreated (or did not), and local women and children evacuated.
An ‘informed source in Sinjar district’ told Shafaq News that ‘15 elder Yazidis from Jadala village (southwest of Sinjar)’ remained in the village ‘due to old age and their chronic disease’. The Commander of the PKK and YBŞ told Êzidî Press that more than sixty men ‘refused to leave their village…, because they would not leave it to the terrorists without a fight,…. [they] tried to defend the local sanctuary Sheikh Mend [ihr Dorf… zu verlassen, weil sie es nicht kampflos den Terroristen überlassen wollten,…. versuchten zudem die örtliche Heiligenstätte Sheikh Mend zu verteidigen]’.
They were ‘mainly members of the Shero family, the descendants of the legendary Hemoye Shero, who saved around 20,000 Christians’ lives during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1916 [vor allem Familienmitglieder der Familie Shero, die Nachfahren des legendären Hemoye Shero, welcher während des Völkermordes an den Armeniern 1915/1916 rund 20.000 Christen das Leben rettete]’.
The PKK and YBŞ returned (or remained) and helped to resist the Islamist forces, but they were outnumbered and outgunned, and eventually driven back.
Then, the Islamic State massacred the village’s remaining residents. Either it murdered them in Sheikh Mend’s tomb, ‘by placing explosives on the head[s] of the people and blowing them up’, which caused ‘very large damage‘ to the shrine, or it blocked them up in the holy place/sacred site (Heiligenstätte), ‘which was later blown up with the people inside [das später dann mit den Menschen im Inneren gesprengt wurde]’. Obviously, regardless, this was a grotesque act of butchery.
Problems with the evidence
I’ve checked for previous publications of the photos (that don’t seem to exist), but there are other problems/weaknesses on top of the inconsistencies in the reports. The minimal EXIF data are useless. I’ve failed to find a satellite image with which to try to compare landmarks in the photos. I’ve failed to find comparison photos using back-translated Arabic variations on: grave, kabir, qabr, shrine or tomb; and Shaykh Mand, Shaykh Mend, Sheikh Mand or Sheikh Mend.
If anyone can help to identify the site of the massacre – the shrine of Sheikh Mend – amongst the photos, or to debunk the claims, I would be very grateful. Whether it’s about this or something where I might be able to help, you can always e-mail me.
Butchery and urbicide in Talesskof and Khiran
These evidenced reports somewhat corroborate, and are somewhat corroborated by, other reports of similar violence nearby. On the 16th of August, Peshmerga liberated Talesskef (or Tel Isqof), but found (and photographed) that ‘many of the buildings’ had been destroyed and others had been prepared for demolition.
Apparently, ‘on the 30th of August, IS terrorists set the Yezidi village of Khiran on fire [haben IS-Terroristen am 30. August das êzîdîsche Dorf Khiran in Brand gesteckt]’; it is feared that there were still some villagers left and that they were massacred.
These acts of destruction cannot be excused as acts of military necessity or religious duty. These are acts of ethnic-religious cleansing, urbicide, genocide.
The Islamic State has also been known as the Caliphate, Da’ash, Da’esh, Da’ish, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Jidalê is also known as Jadala and Cudale.
Sheikh Mend is also written as Sheikh Mand.