No news from 136 Turkmens kidnapped by jihadists
Fevzi Kızılkoyun ANKARAThere has been no news from the 136 Turkmen hostages who were kidnapped by jihadists in Tal Afar in Iraq more than three months ago.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has kept the hostages in Mosul for three months; however, there has been no information for the past 10 days and their destination following Mosul is not known. There are five-month-old babies among the 136 hostages, 74 of whom are children and 62 of whom are women between 18 and 35-years-old.
“We have not been able to hear from our women and children. Somebody should hear our plea,” said Kadriye Ziyai, the head of Turkmen Women’s League.
The list of hostages was given to Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during his visit to the neighboring country in the second half of November.
“He [Davutoğlu] told us he would take care of the matter. However, we haven’t heard from our women and children for 10 days,” said Aydın Maruf Selim of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC).
“I’m calling on humankind. There are five-month-old babies among these hostages. The eldest child is 11-years-old. They were being kept in Mosul, but they were taken somewhere else 10 days ago. We don’t know their fate. Humanity should not remain silent to such a massacre. ISIL militants are raising these children as future suicide bombers. They kill those who are ill and useless for them,” Selim said.
Tal Afar, a city of 200,000 located 420 kilometers (260 miles) northwest of Baghdad, is dominated by ethnic Turkmen, who are both Sunni and Shiite.
According to a recently released report by Iraq’s Ministry of Displacement and Migration, around 6,000 Turkmen and Yazidis have been killed in attacks by ISIL since June.
Around 5,000 Yazidis and 1,000 Turkmen have been killed in ISIL attacks, said the same report, state-run Anadolu Agency reported earlier this month.
The report puts the number of displaced people at 1 million, including 400,000 Yazidis, and 600,000 Turkmen who have fled to safer regions.