The name of this place is Shingal in Kurdish or Sinjar in Arabic. This was a city of more then 80,000 people. Most of them were members of the Kurdish religious minority of the Yazidis. They worked and prayed, went to school and studied, fell in love and dreamed in this city that is tucked in the mountains of Northern Iraq. In August of 2014 the jihadi fascists of the Islamic State took over the area. Shingal became a city of death. University yards and highway junctions became sites of mass executions. Thousand of Yazidis were murdered by the IS within days. In November of 2015 Kurdish Pershmerga fighters, backed by US airstrikes, entered the city and regained its control. Many of the fighters were Yazidis. They found their city in ruins. And they found the mass graves. All over the place. I came to Shingal a few months later with an international NGO that investigates this genocide. The frontline with the IS was only a few kilometres away. In the distance I could hear the gunfire. We could only work in Shingal because we were heavily protected by Peshmerga fighters.

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