Iraq & Syria december 2015
MY LAST TRIP INTO THE WARZONE
now, I want finally to tell You about my latest trip to Iraq and Syria, it took eleven days and ended on the 20th of December. My main goal this time was the supply of the Yazidi war refugees in the Shingal mountains, northern Iraq. The people there live outside the official refugee camps, in the very wilderness. Winters there are cold, I met freezing people everywhere, and for the kids it is hardest, naturally.
BLANKETS AGAINST THE COLD
By Your generous donations, we could dispense a total of 4.200 blankets, as well as clothing and food, to ease the misery a bit.
We also did this on the Syrian side of the border, in the Al Hasakah region, where many refugees are struggling for survival, too. We, my cooperation partners Sheikh Kheire and Sheikh Hassan from Ezdan Humanity Organization and me, encountered great gratitude everywhere by people, whom nobody else seems to help.
SHINGAL CITY – THE “LIBERATED” CITY
Together with some fighters from the Yazidi People’s Protection Units YPG, we visited the main town in the Shingal mountains, Shingal city. It was, as written all over in the press, freed by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters against the Islamic State (IS). Our friends from the YPG told us a different story: the head of the Peshmerga, Masud Barzani, made a deal with IS, they pulled out of the city before a single shot was fired.
A SAD EXPANSE OF RUBBLE
Before leaving they destroyed all the houses and sanctuaries of the Yazidis and Christians. The mosques and houses of the Muslims were spared.
It hurt me so much to see our churches and houses all in ruins, the whole city is a sad expanse of rubble. And most of the villages are still occupied by IS.
VISITING THE YAZIDI POPE
After that, we visited the Baba Sheikh in Lalish, that is the highest sanctuary of the Yazidis, 30 miles east of Dohuk, northern Iraq. The Baba Sheikf is the spiritual head of the Yazidis, quasi their pope. According to an old tradition, we brought him a lamb as a gift. We told him, what we saw and did.
The Baba Sheikh was very thankful to us and was getting almost a bit angry when he asked us, why a Christian nun from Germany had to care for his brothers and sisters in faith, whereas so many Yazidis would live in Germany. The meeting was very cordially and intense. At the end, I invited him to Germany – and he came. We met again in Warburg, and as I am writing You these lines from my yearly trip to India, he still is there. He wants to foster the contacts to the big Yazidi community in Germany, where about 100.000 Yazidis are living.
THE MISERY IN THE REFUGEE CAMPS
We visited many refugee camps during our trip, between Zakho, Dohuk and Erbil, among them some of the big ones, that are run by the UNHCR. The situation has worsened there quite a lot, since the UN has cut down the funding.
We heard, that the camps would receive a quarter of the means, that they received a year ago. Many of the refugees took the opportunity to jump on the refugee bandwagon going to Europe, out of pure misery. But worst off are still all those, who struggle outside the camps for their survival. They are entirely dependent on the help of their direct neighbors and private donors.
I thank You, Dear Friends, from the bottom of my heart, that You enabled my trip by Your donations. With that, we brought some light into the lives of these poor people, living in such dark circumstances.
God bless You all
Sister Hatune Dogan