5 years after IS atrocities, young Yazidis team up to clear explosive hazards in northern Iraq

After five years of massive atrocities committed against the Yazidi minority by Islamic State (IS) militants in Sinjar region, explosive remnants from the anti-IS war still pose a threat to civilians’ lives in the region.

Through a project by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), young men and women from the ravaged Yazidi community have teamed up to take the matter into their own hands and clear explosive hazards from Sinjar and the surrounding villages in the northern province of Nineveh.

“To be honest, it is a dangerous trade. My mother didn’t want me to sign up for the job but I’m the only one with an employment opportunity in the family and supporting them is a priority for me,” Seido Khalaf, a resident in Sinjar, told Xinhua.

When the IS rampaged across Sinjar region in 2014, they destroyed the farmhouse of Khalaf’s family and forced them into displacement.

“We had to leave for Duhok Province, where we lived in an unfinished structure and then in tents for four years,” said Khalaf, now a deputy leader of an explosives clearance team.

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