Pains Yazidis Suffered, Sweden Doctor in Iraq Kurdistan Tells Their Story

Pains Yazidis Suffered, Sweden Doctor in Iraq Kurdistan Tells Their Story
Wed Sep 2, 2015 18:02:10

A doctor who works in a refugee camp in Kurdistan has told how she treated a 14-year-old girl who ran for her life from ISIS who shot her pregnant mother in the stomach as they overran her village.

The girl turned around as she fled and her father put his hands over her eyes as terrorists opened fire and killed her mother, who was eight months pregnant.

The traumatized teenager has gone temporarily blind after the horrors of what she saw.

Dr Nemam Ghafouri also revealed how she treated a young man who was shot in the back and the shoulder after his entire village was wiped out by ISIS.

The refugee, Abass, 23, told her that 53 Yazidi men were forced to lie on the ground and shot dead.

Abass escaped and had to walk across desert for a week until he reached Dr Ghafouri for treatment.

Theirs are just two horrific stories the doctor has been told since she started working at the Bajed Kandala Camp 2 in Dohuk, northern Iraq a year ago.


Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she told of the horrors she has encountered when she decided not to fly home to Sweden, where she’s from, last August and stay to help refugees instead.

She had no idea what she was heading into, she said.

'We got to the border, and we realised how big the catastrophe was,' she said. 'It was a disaster in many ways. Even the local authorities didn't grasp it.'

At the same time as she was making her way to the Dohuk region, Abass was defending his home from ISIS fighters on August 3.

When he ran out of bullets, he returned back to his mother's home in the village.

But the extremist militants were already lining up his neighbours and friends, one line for women, and one for men.

What happened to the women was unclear: he never saw his mother again.

Bandaged with socks, he walked for seven days until he found help. On August 11, Dr Ghafouri and her team were finally able to operate in the refugee camp, now known as Bajed Kandala Camp 2.

Dr Ghafouri, who was born in Iraq in the 1970s and claimed asylum in Sweden, has got used to stories like this. Harder, possibly, are the faces of the children who have witnessed such suffering first hand.

More than half the camp is under the age of 15, and numerous babies are born each week.

'When you are on the ground, it is very emotional,' she told MailOnline. 'As a doctor, I am very neutral.

But when it comes to the plight of children, it is hard. I have seen so much suffering, it is beyond imagination.'

That suffering includes girls who haven't even reached their teenage years yet returning from captivity, pregnant with the children of their ISIS abusers.But even those who managed to escape their clutches initially are scarred.

A girl called Khawlia is just one of the Yazidi youngsters left traumatised by what they witnessed when the ISIS hoards descended on their villages.Last August, she was running for her life with her father and older sister.

Just behind, her pregnant mother was being helped by her aunts.But they didn't run fast enough, and her mother was shot in the stomach - in front of her distraught family.

The horrors she had witnessed, even with her father trying to cover her eyes as her mother was mercilessly slaughtered, had sent her into a sort of temporary blindness.

'It is the way of expressing her emotions. Whenever you mention the name "mother", she will start crying.'

She isn't the only child struggling to come to terms with the death of a parent.

The medical team - who all come from a Kurdish background - pay particular attention to the orphans.

There are three children in particular who have caught the attention of Dr Ghafouri.

Both their parents were killed when ISIS took over Sinjar in August, and now they are cared for by their grandparents.

But every time the doctors spot the children in the camp, their grief at losing their parents is plain to see.

'Many of the other children, they change by the day. But these three, they are keeping to themselves. They are very quiet,' said Dr Ghafouri.

'It is heartbreaking everytime you see them in the camp.'But there are little glimpses of hope in amongst the sadness.

In particular, there is Donia, the first baby delivered by the Swedish team in the first days of the camp.

The little girl, now approaching her first birthday, is a favourite, having become a mascot of sorts.

'We found her in a yoghurt box,' Dr Ghafouri revealed . 'We have been following her like she is our baby.

'She is a year now, and so beautiful.'

string(186) "[{"id":"1728103","sort":"3403798","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2015/08/10/alalam_635748113729618519_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Meet the Woman Left Sweden to Help Yazidi Women and Children"} ]"