July 25, 2017 / 6:41 PM / 4 months ago

Rescued from Islamic State, Yazidi boy longs to rejoin mother in Canada

DUHOK, Iraq (Reuters) - A Yazidi boy rescued from the battlefield in Mosul after three years in Islamic State captivity has asked to be reunited with his mother, who was granted asylum in Canada after escaping from the militants herself.

A Yazidi boy, twelve year-old Imad Tammo rescued from Islamic State militants by the Iraqi army, draws in Sina neighbourhood outside of Duhok, Iraq July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

Twelve year-old Imad Tammo was captured by Islamic State along with his family in the summer of 2014 when the militants overran the Sinjar area in northern Iraq, purging its Yazidi population.

Thousands of Yazidi women were enslaved by the militants, who killed hundreds of adult men and took boys including Imad away for military and ideological training. The United Nations has said it constitutes genocide.

“I want to go to my mother in Canada. I haven’t seen her in three years,” said Imad, who was wounded in June when a mortar landed near him in Mosul’s Old City.

The militant who was holding Imad took him to a hospital, where he was operated on, Tammo said.

As the battle for Mosul drew to an end earlier this month, Imad’s uncle received a call saying that his nephew had been found alive by Iraqi forces.

The uncle, who is now caring for him, said he and other relatives had previously contacted smugglers, seeking to buy Imad back, but to no avail.

Asked how the militants had treated him, Imad said: “Some of them were good and some of them were bad.” His elder brother and father are still missing.

The uncle, Barzan Tammo, said the boy’s mother had learned from photographs circulated on social media that her son had been rescued and called him to check if it was true.

”I told her: ‘I am standing next to him, you can talk to him’,“ Tammo said. ”She spoke to him, and burst into tears. I told her: ‘don’t cry, he is free from Daesh and he is fine. He will soon be with you again.” 

Editing by Catherine Evans

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