| ||Ezidi families fleeing massacres have taken refuge in unfinished buildings|
ISIS invaded Aswad’s village Kocho on 10 August 2014. They militants insisted that all the
Ezidis (Yazidis) in the village convert to Islam or die. When they refused, ISIS gathered around
a thousand people in the school. They
took villagers’ phones, money, and jewelry. Then, ISIS took the men and drove them in three trucks
several hundred meters from the main road. There, they knocked them to the ground and shot them with machine
guns, and then shot them each in the head to make sure he was dead. When it was Aswad’s turn, the
executioner heard planes approaching and ran away, leaving Aswad in agony, with
four bullets in his pelvis and legs.
The rest of the men died on the spot, except three men who ran away
wounded, and who, as Aswad learned, ISIS later found and killed.
Aswad, a man in his forties, believes that his inability to walk or run saved his life. Crawling in pain, hunger, and thirst, after about five hours, he reached the nearest village (around 2km away). Fearing ISIS’s revenge, the villagers threw Aswad out of the village on a blanket and abandoned him. However, in the darkness of the night, a teenager from the village came to him, brought him water, and let Aswad borrow his phone. Aswad called his friend who, with a much fear and hesitation, came to help him. His friend kept hiding him, as he lay delirious with a high fever, in poultry farms and in an abandoned house.