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The following documentary from TV Libertés describes the plight of the Yazidis, who are caught between the Islamic State and the Turks. The Islamic State is intent on eradicating the Yazidis as a matter of Islamic doctrine, but for the Turks it’s just incidental to their regional ambitions. President Erdogan is systematic in his attempts to destroy the Kurdish separatist movement in Turkey as well as the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. From a Turkish point of view the Yazidis are just collateral damage — assuming the Turks even pay attention to such an inconsequential minority.

Many thanks to Oz-Rita for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:


00:00 ZAKHO The Martyrdom of the Yazidis
00:04 Julien is taking us to the north of
00:08 Kurdistan, to meet the Yazidis. If the Christians
00:12 are victims of countless bloody and barbarian crimes,
00:16 the Yazidis are victims of a real genocide.
00:20 He will then cross the Iraqi-Turkish border,
00:24 when we will show you hitherto unseen images.
00:28 Long queues of petrol tankers coming from the Islamic State (ISIS)
00:32 entering Turkey to be refined there.
00:36 You have not seen these images in the aligned media
00:40 because this oil feeds the Middle East
00:45 and Europe.
00:49 Zakho. In this pretty Kurdish bastion of 350,000 souls
00:53 the atmosphere is serene and relaxed.
00:57 I feel quickly at ease in Zakho, and yet…
01:01 Zakho is between Turkey and ISIS;
01:05 each is situated about 20 km from there.
01:09 While Zakho is not immune from an attack
01:13 by the jihadists, today it’s the Turkish missiles that hit the town and its environs.
01:17 Istanbul accuses the PKK,
01:21 the Kurdish separatist party, of being the spearhead
01:26 in the fight against ISIS, fearing to see them come out of this conflict as the great victor.
01:30 (WE ARE ALL PESHMERGAS) Yet the West has still not condemned these Turkish strikes in favor of
01:34 the Islamic State, nor the recurrent violations of Iraq airspace.
01:46 Zakho is home to a century-old Christian community
01:50 that lives in peace with the Kurds, which has not always been the case. The number
01:54 of these Christians has increased by three times since the jihadist offensive
01:58 in the summer of 2014. Several hundred families
02:03 have found refuge in the various facilities of the diocese.
02:07 After the deaths, war and the atrocities,
02:11 these families now must face inactivity, promiscuity
02:15 and extreme precariousness.
02:19 It’s at the “Christian Militia for local self-defense” that I meet with Abu Gassan
02:23 “Daesh” = ISIS (Islamic State)
03:21 It was very difficult to get my interviewees to explicitly
03:25 give names on camera. Off camera
03:29 it was mostly Turkey, the USA and Saudi Arabia who were accused of supporting
03:34 the Islamic State. Obama, Erdogan and the big
03:38 names of international finance.
03:42 Right now I’m driving with Abu Gassan towards the refugee camp of the Yazidis of Zakho.
03:46 Their Indo-Iranian dialect is unique and
03:50 many centuries old. Being neither Muslim nor Arab,
03:54 practicing Zoroastrianism, they worship the prophet Zarathustra
03:58 which today earned them the status of victims of a genocide.
04:02 They are descended from the ancient Aryans coming from the north
04:07 of Europe 4,000 years ago. They do have physical features
04:11 very unusual for that region, which makes the Yazidi women
04:15 preferred sex slaves for the jihadists.
04:19 All the Yazidi that I meet are refugees from the Mountain of
04:23 Sinjar, their sacred mountain.
04:27 We had to leave Sinjar when ISIS attacked the town
04:31 They decapitated every Yazidi they found and raped every little girl they caught.
04:35 We fled to the mountains where we stayed for a month.
04:39 Many died from thirst.
04:43 We were surrounded. We fought for one month.
04:47 The Peshmerga broke the siege and the survivors were able to join this camp.
04:51 I was evacuated by helicopter from the mountain by the Kurdish army on the last day.
04:55 Thanks to the Kurdish we are alive, but
05:00 there are few survivors and our lives are broken.
05:04 We have always been very poor. Life here is not really different.
05:08 I just want our sisters to be liberated.
05:12 and that we can return to our village.
05:16 I don’t think that they will be able to return home soon…
05:45 The testimonies that I gather through my encounters
05:49 are increasingly difficult to listen to. Sometimes it is very difficult
05:53 to imagine what they had to endure.
05:57 Mirza, father of a Yazidi family.
06:02 Does he hope for a future for the Yazidi people in Iraq or elsewhere?
06:06 All that I wish for is that Iraq may live in peace,
06:10 that all the Muslims stop considering others as infidels.
06:18 We want to live in peace but on our lands —
06:22 the Christians, the Yazidis, the Muslims, the Shabaks, the Arabs
06:30 But with ISIS there will never be peace.
06:35 Before living in this camp I led a very comfortable life.
06:39 I had a house, work, a car
06:43 I lost everything to bring my family out in safety.
06:51 When ISIS attacked Sinjar and began the massacre
06:59 I lived in a village next to Sinjar
07:04 a bit isolated, on the other side of the mountain.
07:08 A friend came to warn us that ISIS had just taken Sinjar,
07:12 and that the jihadists were already on their way to attack our village.
07:20 We left everything and fled immediately.
07:24 Three hours later we would have all been dead.
07:28 When they arrived in Sinjar
07:32 everyone tried to flee.
07:41 Those who could not run fast enough were killed or abducted.
07:45 Women and little girls are methodically raped.
07:49 But men have their throats cut or are buried alive.
07:57 Some are sold on the slave market;
08:01 little girls fetch a higher price than adults.
08:30 Zin, father of a Yazidi family.
08:34 I come from Sinjar. When ISIS arrived in the town
08:38 at 7 in the morning, we all left to run towards the desert.
08:47 But many did not have time.
08:51 My wife disappeared, I don’t know where she is.
08:55 They killed my brother.
09:03 They abducted his wife and his two girls
09:07 Seven or eight other members of my family were killed.
09:20 These two children (names unclear) are orphans. Their parents were captured
09:24 and executed while the little ones were with their grandparents.
09:28 A miracle. They massacre us because of our culture,
09:32 which has always been pacifist.
09:36 We are victims of a genocide.
09:40 The West MUST hear us !
09:44 Children endure the condition of refugee better than adults.
09:49 They are still too young to understand
09:53 what death means.
09:57 What future for this people without land, a distant and mysterious reflection
10:01 of our Indo-European civilisation. A people
10:05 who elected to live in this region thousands of years before those who massacre them today.
10:22 Yesterday they were the majority; today there are only 300,000
10:26 survivors of them left: parked, uprooted, lost.
10:34 The testimony of the last pagans of the Middle East sounds like
10:38 a warning.
10:42 The end of my time
10:46 in Iraq comes at the Iraqi-Turkish border, towards which I am heading at present.
10:50 Through the border post I’ll use
10:54 passes, according to my Kurdish sources, the petrol of ISIS.
11:19 And this is the Little Khabur River
11:23 that separates Turkey, Syria and Iraq. To the left
11:27 Is the Iraqi bank that I’m leaving and to the right, the right bank of Turkey that I’m joining.
11:36 It is under the cover of night that the sordid dance begins.
11:40 The Kurd who is with me
11:44 points out the unmarked trucks: no name of any oil company.
11:48 Neither colour nor logo on the tanks, and for good reason:
11:52 This petrol does not belong to any company at present.
11:56 It belongs to the Islamic State, and will soon be sold to a Turkish
12:01 petroleum company. Once the black gold is laundered
12:05 it will refuel Turkish and European vehicles.
12:09 And the infra-red videos, taken by Russian aviation,
12:13 confirm the facts: this is the same border post
12:17 just a few days after my passage.
12:25 Lucky not to have been there that night.
12:59 A few moments later, luck is still on my side:
13:03 Traffic is blocked.
13:07 I am on a road on which an attack took place
13:11 a few minutes before my passage.
13:15 The next morning
13:19 my voyage comes to an end.
13:23 Iraq today is more torn than ever. While the jihadists
13:27 have recently lost ground, a new conflict has already exploded:
13:32 The Kurds and the Shiite government of Baghdad
13:36 will fight, in blood, over the liberated territories.
13:40 And between these two fires, it’s the minorities
13:44 who will be, as always, the first victims of the carnage.