Dakhila Murad, shown here on March 15, 2019 in Kocho, is a 30-year-old woman from Kocho and lost six brothers, two sisters-in-law, and a niece during the Islamic State group's genocide against the Yezidi people in 2014. Photo: Mahdi Faraj | Rudaw
KOCHO — Dakhila Murad is a 30 year-old woman originally from Kocho, but she currently begrudgingly lives in Qadiya Camp near Zakho which primarily hosts Yezidis from Shingal.
“We desire security and safety in our area and I never want to experience what happened to us when ISIS attacked us here in this school,” Murad told Rudaw on Friday in the school in Kocho where she was taken captive by the Islamic State (ISIS) group on August 15, 2014.
A picture behind shows one of her brothers, Dakhil Murad, who was buried — likely in a mass grave — after being killed by ISIS on that day.
She has lost six brothers, two sisters-in-law and a 12-year-old niece.
When first ISIS came to Kocho they called the mukhtar and said not to worry because they wouldn’t kill you and your people, so long as they stay away from guns and don’t move
“But later on August 14, 2014, they gathered us at the Girls High School and separated men from women, and took us to Tel Afar. It was the last day I had seen my six brothers! And today, I am here to get their bones back so I can dig a grave…” she lamented
Dakhila Murad and a relative look at a display of missing Yezidis at a makeshift museum in Kocho, Shingal, on February 15, 2019. Photo: Mahdi Faraj | Rudaw
Like many Yezidis, Murad was moved across the border and into the heart of the then caliphate.
“They first took me to Tel Afar then Qasir Mihrab then passed me to Raqqa in Syria. Finally, I found myself in Tabqa. I had the opportunity to run away, back home to Kurdistan in October 2015 after some deals from my three brothers,” she recalled without elaborating on the negotiations.
On Friday, a UN investigatory team began unearthing a suspected mass grave in Kocho.
“We will never, ever find happiness without our missed family members” she lamented.
What will it take for Yezidis to return to their homeland of Shingal?
“Nobody is back to Kocho because there are not any life principles and basic life needs. As you see all the houses and buildings are down and destroyed badly by ISIS, where can I stay? Shall I stay under the walls? Ha, no,” Murad said.
Yezidi leaders have called on the Iraqi federal and Kurdistan regional government to put their differences aside and find a solution for the return of their people to the disputed lands.
Without reconciliation, she sees little possibility for consensus at the national level.
“The village of Kocho is located among Arab villages and we are afraid they may attack us again if there is no international security,” Murad said.