DAHUK, Iraqi Kurdistan — In a barren roadside expanse under a clear winter sky, young boys dream of being the next Messi as they kick a soccer ball around. The girls beguile visitors, cupping their thumbs and index fingers to make heart signs and sharing their hopes of becoming doctors and lawyers one day. Yet there are few such prospects for these children at the Sharya camp for Yazidis, the ethnic Kurdish minority whose men were butchered and women and girls raped and enslaved by the Islamic State (IS) when it swept across their ancestral homeland of Sinjar in 2014.
Hazi, 13, says she has lived here with her six brothers and five sisters for eight years. “Life is very difficult,” she told Al-Monitor. “Our tents keep getting damaged. In summer it is like hell and in winter the tents are wet and cold."