October 31, 2014
Sheikhan, Iraqi Kurdistan
Seven children escaped death after a phone call from their parents warning them to leave Sinjar immediately. The parents were killed after ISIS attacked their hometown at the beginning of August 2014. Some of the children were playing in the neighborhood while others were further away. The eldest son Elias, 17, received a phone call from his father instructing him to take his sister Beeman, 20, and his brothers, Salam, 8, Hesso, 10, Mazen, 9, Khedr, 12, and Reda, 5, and leave the city as soon as possible. They escaped by taking the Wadi al-Karaz road which was the only available route on the Sinjar mountain after the city fell to ISIS. They are now residing in the Lalish Temple in Sheikhan where they have been taken in by the community. Their destiny remains unclear.
Beeman (Girl, Kurdish) Older sister:
"We reached Wadi al-Karaz, me and Elias after great suffering. Elias told me that he was going to get us blankets. He was terribly afraid, shivering and saying sentences that I could not understand. It was a difficult situation and a quick escape."
Hesso (Boy, Kurdish) :
"My siblings lost me and some of my relatives found me and dropped me off to my uncle."
Elias (Boy, Kurdish) Older brother:
"I am the older brother and I am responsible for my siblings. We do not have anything, not even money to buy clothes, and we cannot leave Lalish temple."
Salam (Boy, Kurdish):
"I escaped in a car with others, my mom and siblings stayed there. each one escaped taking a different road. My older brother said that he will not leave my mom and the rest of my siblings alone."
Mazen (Boy, Kurdish):
"They called us and told us that the road to Syria is open for escape. Then we changed our destination to Wadi al-Karaz. I was not with my siblings then, nobody told me that my mother died and was buried in Wadi al-Karaz. Then I caught up with my older brother. Our situation was better than the rest of them because we had water."