Yazidi women remain captive in territory controlled by Turkey

Yazidis residing in Syrian territories controlled by Turkey remain enslaved by Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups, said American Enterprise Institute scholar and former Pentagon official Michael Rubin in the Washington Examiner.

The Yazidis, members of a religious community that has inhabited the region since pre-Islamic times, were slaughtered and enslaved in a genocide carried out by the Islamic State starting in 2014. But while ISIS has been driven out of the region, Rubin said fighters from Syrian rebel proxies of Turkey have continued their treatment of the endangered minority.

Turkey has been guilty of double standards in its treatment of Syrian refugees by refusing to provide aid and assistance to Yazidi refugees while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calls for extended international support for Syrian refugees residing in Turkey, Rubin said.

"Now, it appears the Turkish influence might be more malign as the proxies it supports continue to enslave Yazidi girls while both perpetuate both the practices ISIS supported and the trauma its Yazidi victims endured," he said.

Following Turkey's latest offensive in northeast Syria, the Turkish-backed rebels spearheading the country’s military operation were accused of abuses against religious minorities. The United States has urged Turkey to commit to protecting them.

"If the White House is serious about religious freedom, the return of 3,000 Yazidis girls and women from de facto Turkish enslavement should be top priority," Rubin said.

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