A Yazidi grave in Afrin - Image source: Exclusive to “Lelun”
A Yazidi grave in Afrin - Image source: Exclusive to “Lelun”

We are peaceful people, even if we are not from their religion, we want peace and nothing more..!

After the Turkish “Olive Branch” operation, I returned to the Afrin region. My return was not intentional. Fate took me to hands and lands that I had never known. Afrin was only a name. I can believe the fact that I did not feel that it was the land on whose soil I was born and whose bounties I ate, but rather it was a grave in which I did not have the mercy of death, even inside.

Perhaps everyone would be surprised to say something like this about their land, but when a mother who reunites and protects her children turns into a place that attacks you without mercy, this is hardly what will be said.

Until now, I live on tranquilizers and medicine that help me sleep in order to live my day like any normal human being. Praise be to God, thanks to my husband and children, I have regained myself that I lost.

It was suffered, fear and torment that no human being can imagine. As for the amount of insult I was subjected by them as they beat me provocatively and mocked me, saying:

  • We have taken our rights from the Kurds. We have taken our rights from their women.

I am sixty-five years old from the Yazidi religion. After the “Olive Branch” Operation, we headed to the city of Qamishli with the intention of settling there, as all of my children are abroad, and my husband and I were alone. I had a constant feeling of loneliness and sadness after displacement, until I made the decision to return to the Shahba region, because it is close to the land of Afrin, and I wish I had not returned!

My husband rejected the decision, because the living conditions of the people there are very difficult, and I tried a lot, but he continued to refuse, until I made the decision to return in a moment of collapse, longing, and great psychological fatigue. That was mid-June 2018.

I carried my bag and took a car to Manbij, until I reached the crossing band, and they told me that the road was closed for the people of Afrin from Manbij to Aleppo for security reasons. Then one of the drivers in the car garage told me that he could take me to Aleppo by passing through Jarablus via smuggling, but I had to spend the night at his house. I agreed without hesitation, paying him a sum of money. The next day, I drove off in his car, and he told me after a short distance:

  • “Here we have arrived in Jarabulus!”

Here, I didn’t know where I was and where I was going. We stopped at the Free Army checkpoint, and one of the officers asked me:

  • Who are you? Where are you headed?
  • I am from Afrin and my name is…, and I am a Yazidi from the village of “Qastal Jindo” adjacent to the city of Azaz.

The officer pulled me tightly and took me out of the car, and said to the smuggler:

  • Leave this to us.

He forced me to get down, brought the knife, and said:

  • Pronounce the Shahada, or I will slaughter you!
  • No and a thousand no, I was born with my religion and I will die for my religion.

He caught me and throw me to another person, saying to him:

  • Take this to the station for investigation.

Day after day, while I was alone in a cell without food or water, I was subjected to torture with electric shocks, they pulled out my nails, and they always called me an infidel. They would bring a very hot skewer and pass it over my body. I tasted all forms of torture and humiliation, and they were always blackmailing us by saying that “they attacked the Kurdish women and took their revenge on us.”

On the first day of Eid al-Adha of the same year, I was released after my husband found out my whereabouts and paid him fifteen million Syrian pounds, at the time I was in a prison in Azaz city. After my release, I asked them to take me to my house before returning to my husband in Aleppo. As soon as I arrived, I wish I had not gone! This was not my house, and I did not feel like I owned it. They turned it into a garbage container as a result of digging up and vandalizing, so I said to one of the officers:

  • Why did you do this to my house? For God’s sake!
  • Shut up! Otherwise, I will urinate on all your things. This is a house for infidels and it is permissible for us to burn it.

Indeed, after I arrived in Aleppo, they told me that they had burned it.

I always asked myself:

  • “Why did fate lead me to this tragedy?”

We are peaceful people, even if we are of a different religion. We want peace and nothing more. Maybe it wasn’t just my sin, as thousands like me languish at their mercy in those prisons. Perhaps it is the sin of our ancestors that will haunt us forever in that we were born as Kurds.

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