DOHUK, Iraq—When Islamic State militants pushed into the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar in August 2014, they rounded up older boys and men from the Yazidi minority religious sect into nearby fields and executed them. Yazidi children and women were separated into groups and transported deep into ISIS-held territory. Nasreen Seedo, 28, and her family were among the lucky few who escaped.
“We were eating breakfast, but we didn't even get to eat it,” Nasreen told me. "Our neighbor came to the door to say that Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ISIS] was on the street. If we had left one minute later it would have been too late." After a seven-day journey on foot, Nasreen and her family arrived in the village of Khanki, where Yazidis have deep roots.
The Yazidi community is now calling for the ISIS attack on Sinjar to be recognized as genocide. Nearly every Yazidi has been affected: thousands have been exiled, abducted, raped or executed.
Before the war, Nasreen had a mundane job in government administration. But since the attack on Sinjar, Nasreen has joined a small group of Kurdish and displaced Yazidi women who travel throughout Iraqi-Kurdistan to locate and aid Yazidi girls and women who have escaped ISIS captivity.
These photos, which I took between June and October of this year, tell their stories.
Andrea DiCenzo is an American photojournalist based in Erbil, Iraq. Andrea DiCenzo is a San Francisco-born photographer whose work focuses on humanitarian issues throughout the Middle East.