HOW A GERMAN YAZIDI IS FIGHTING ISIS
Simon Jacob reporting with the Global Youth Peacemaker Tour from Sinjar, in Iraq.
He was born in Iraq in 1988 at the time Saddam Hussein and the West were getting along splendidly. Especially the United States were an important ally of Iraq at the time.
This changed, of course, on 2 August 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. The rest is history.
Yassir grew up during turbulent times. Unable to make a future for themselves in the war-torn country, his family emigrated to Germany in 1989.
Here, the boy, who would later go on to become a Yazidi fighter in the Ezidkhan Protection Force (HPE), spent his childhood. He could not anticipate that one day, he would heed the call to go to war against a brutal terror organization that had plunged the land of his forefathers into a bloody conflict.
Having received training during his stint in the German armed forces certainly helped his endeavor. But it couldn’t prepare him fully for what was to come. When I met him in Sherfedin, the second most holy places in the Yazidi religion, he told me that, by now, he had become hardened by the daily horrors of war.
The young soldier has been fighting here since September 2014, when the city was under siege from ISIS. Repelling wave after wave of attacks, the Yazidi defenders eventually emerged victorious. Yassir had earned his keep in a unit that had faced seemingly inevitable defeat many times over.
You can still see the traces of the exertion of these violent months in the young man’s face. The lightness of youth has vanished from his eyes when meet him again in Sinjar, a city reduced to rubble in the ongoing clashes.
I meet him in the headquarters of the Yazidi and Kurdish ground troops, that stand their ground here every day.
He doesn’t hide his hate for the so-called “Islamic State”. He can’t. After all the cruelty that ISIS has done to his people, he sees them as an enemy that deserves no mercy, only death.
Before I leave the camp, he warns me of the mines that are still scattered in the area. Then he goes on with his grim but necessary business. And so do I.
I hope to see him again one day. Alive and in one piece.