Yezidi woman smuggled across Syria to be reunited with family in Duhok
DUHOK — Samo Omer, 28, is a Yezidi from the village of Tal Qasab, south of Shingal. She was held by ISIS militants for a total of five years, both in Iraq and in Syria.
"I was previously in the city of Hama. I went to Idlib with their [ISIS] families. I stayed in Idlib for seven months. After that, I was sold to [someone in] Iraq, then I was taken to Manbij [in northern Syria]. Later I was taken to camps on the Iraq-Turkey border, from where I was sold to [someone in] Iraq. Someone from Idlib took me, and he treated me well," Samo told Rudaw. "Later, I came [with smugglers] to Manbij, and to Qamishli."
ISIS published a picture of Samo and her two children in the Syrian city of Idlib, saying that they were for sale.
Samo’s brother Khalaf, who had been in desperate search of her, saw the picture, and bought her for $30,000.
To begin her journey back to her family, Samo was taken by smugglers from Idlib in 2019 – but not before one of her two children died in an airstrike on the city.
After a month travelling through Syria with the smugglers, Samo and her surviving child met her brother in the city of Qamishli.
"I can't explain the hardships we faced [to rescue her]," Khalaf said. When I received a message that read 'your sister is with me', we were made so happy by the news. All of a sudden, they switched their phones off for 10-15 days, and we had no news about her. We were down until they next picked up the phone. We'd make phone calls around the lock.
Samo and her surviving child were then reunited with the rest of her family, including her husband, at Kabarto IDP camp, Duhok. Samo has since had another child.
ISIS attacked the Yezidi heartland of Shingal in August 2014, abducting 6,417 Yezidis. Six years on, 2,887 Yezidis are still missing, according to figures from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).