We arrived in Sinjar on the afternoon of December 26th 2016. Over a year after its liberation from Isis by Kurdish forces. Most of the buildings have been at least partially damaged from the fighting while the front line remains at the edge of the town.(Yellow: Kurdish. Black: Isis. Red: Shia militias). The military situation in Sinjar as of December 27th 2016. Although the areas of ‘Basuk’ and ‘Al Qahtaniya’ appeared to be more like no mans land than actual Isis control.
The Sinjar front line, looking across no man’s land towards Isis’ controlled territory.Afterwards we were brought to the site of a mass grave a few kilometers to the east of the city. In early August 2014 93 men and boys from the surrounding houses were lined up and shot dead by Isis militants before a bulldozer covered their bodies with soil. The women were killed, raped and taken as sex slaves. Overall 5,000 men were killed. Approximately 2,000 Yazidi women are still being held as slaves.While up to 400 Yazidi boys under 12 are thought to have been trained as Isis soldiers and suicide bombers.
We stayed in an abandoned house with two Peshmerga. Reluctant to wander out at night time we ended up stuck inside from 5pm. At 1am our Peshmerga hosts took a call, threw on their uniform and left for the front while muttering something about two Isis vehicles and a drone. They were unable to shoot the drone down while the vehicles didn’t threaten the Kurdish lines.Peshmerga accomodation at a military base in Sinjar, Iraq. The town remains within range of Isis mortar fire. According to the soldiers 1 Iraqi security member in the town was killed this way last month although I couldn’t find a news story to verify this claim.
All photos taken by Roger Miller on December 26th and 27th 2016.