By Dr. Amy L. Beam:
Eighteen-year-old Lamya Haji Bishar was captured by Daesh (ISIS) on August 15, 2014, when they attacked her village of Kocho on the southeast side of Shengal Mountain. She was immediately separated from her mother and held in Tal Afar for 20 months before her escape was organized. Her 12-year-old brother escaped after being held ten months where he was sent to “school” in Tal Afar to study the Koran.
Their mother, sister, and three brothers are still held captive by Daesh in Syria. Daesh has taken the eldest captive son, age 10, for jihadist training. The other three siblings, ages 9, 6, and 2, are with their mother. Lamya has not heard of her father’s fate.
On August 15, 2014, Daesh took hundreds of Yazidi men and teenage boys from Kocho and shot them in six mass executions at the outskirts of town. Nineteen survived their bullet wounds and managed to escape to safety in Kurdistan.
Lamya escaped from Tal Afar with two other Yazidi girls in April 2016. When they were close to the Peshmerga front and freedom in Kurdistan, her friend Catherine stepped on an IED bomb. She and another girl were killed. Lamya was badly injured in her face and eyes.
When Amy Beam and Jiyan Havind visited Lamya in Baadre, living with her aunt and uncle, she said she cannot see a person sitting next to her. She is able to see only light. She does not see anything out of one eye which she dabs at with a tissue. Her facial scars are healing, but she requires plastic surgery on her face. This week she has travelled on a medical program to Germany where she will receive surgery. An eye specialist has given her some hope for restoring some of her sight.
It is unfortunate, however, that an earlier VOA story stated it is impossible for her to get plastic surgery in Kurdistan. Beam’s volunteer medical partner in Duhok is Dr. Sabah Al Sadoon. He is a maxofacial surgeon in Duhok and stated that it would be possible to perform plastic surgery in Kurdistan and that it should have been done immediately before the healing process formed permanent scars. It is unfortunate that there is often an automatic assumption that surgery is not available in Iraq.
Dr. Amy L. Beam has been assisting the displaced Yazidis since the Islamic State jihadists attacked them August3, 2014. She writes political and historical commentary on Kurds and Yezidis in Turkey and Kurdistan at Kurdistan Tribune and her public Facebook page. Twitter @amybeam; email@example.com.