Yazidis in Iraq

Contemporary Issues

15-month-old baby Beywar Khodeida, bottom center, sleeps as his family starts the day at their family home in the deserted village of Doukoure near Sinjar Mountain, Iraq. The 15 month old, who was born just as the family was fleeing ISIS was given his name Beywar, which means 'one without a home.' The family came back to the house in order to clean up and make sure it was ok. They hadn't been back since the village of Doukoure fell to ISIS and all the residents were forced to leave or face possible death. After ISIS eventually retreated from the village only one resident has permanently come back as many homes were destroyed and people were still too fearful to return.

A large number of Yazidis now live in refugee camps near Dohuk after ISIS took over Sinjar mountain in August 2014 and killed thousands of people during that time. ISIS eventually retreated, but people have been slow to return as many houses were destroyed many residents were still too fearful to return. Women and children were particularly affected as many were sexually abused and enslaved by ISIS fighters. Many who disappeared are still unaccounted for. I covered this story for UNICEF, Buzzfeed and The New York Times.