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ICC Note:

Iraq’s security officials have freed one Christian woman and seven Yezidi women from ISIS militants who were attempting to flee to Syria. They were freed in an area just north of Tal Afar, a city of strategic importance to ISIS which has recently been liberated by Iraqi forces. While thankful that these women have been freed, officials are concerned because they represent only a fraction of those whom authorities believe were being held captive in Tal Afar. Officials believe the other captives have been relocated by the militants to locations where ISIS is still present.

08/29/2017 Iraq (Rudaw Kurdish News) – A security official told Rudaw on Monday that they have freed seven Yezidi women, and one Christian woman as Iraqi forces clashed with ISIS militants who tried to flee to Syria from an area north of Tal Afar.

Ashti Kochar, the head of the Kurdish security force known as Asayish in the area, also said that some 300 families have fled to the Peshmerga-held areas as the fighting intensified between the advancing Iraqi forces and the ISIS militants north of Tal Afar and also in al-A’yaziyah, a town 11 kilometers northwest of the city.

“Since yesterday, we were able to free eight women. One of them is Christian, and the rest are Yezidis who are from Kocho, Tal Qasab and Shingal area,” Kochar said from a Peshmerga outpost overlooking the village of Qasab al-Ra’i, only a few kilometers from the town where plumes of smoke could be seen rising into the sky of al-A’yaziyah.

Rudaw’s cameras captured many civilians fleeing the ongoing war Monday as they made their way to Qasab al-Ra’i, and then to areas controlled by the Peshmerga.

Some civilians appeared to be staying in the village.

Kochar said they are expecting at least 1,000 families to seek shelter in their areas as the fighting further intensifies.

Citing Yezidi officials, Rudaw reported earlier today that only seven Yezidis had been freed as of Sunday out of an estimated 500 Yezidis who were once thought to be held in the Turkmen city of Tal Afar.

The officials said they fear the rest may have been taken to areas in Syria, Turkey, or to al-A’yaziyah where ISIS is still present.

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