Yazidi migrants stranded on islet in Maritsa rescued by Greek authorities

Yazidi migrants stranded on islet in Maritsa rescued by Greek authorities
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Over 80 Yazidi migrants who were stranded on an islet have been rescued and taken to Greece.

Yazidi migrants who were stranded for days on an islet in the Maritsa (Evros) river bordering Turkey and Greece were rescued on Sunday by Greek authorities, announced the co-founder of US-based Yazda Foundation, which strives to improve the living conditions of the survivors of the Yazidi genocide committed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Iraq.

Murad Ismael earlier said on Saturday that a group of over 80 Yazidi migrants were stranded in an islet for four days and that "their conditions require immediate intervention."

The next day, Agence France-Presse cited a source from Greece's citizen ministry saying, "We are going to rescue them since there is no response from the Turkish authorities to our requests for them to be taken back."

Ismael said Sunday evening:

"I have spoken to few sources in Greece and they reported that Greek authorities have taken the Yazidis from the islet to Greece. We are grateful to everyone who brought attention to this and appreciate Greece & the Greek people for their big heart and support."

Greece is considered a gateway to Western Europe for migrants passing through Turkey. In 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal aimed at containing migration into Europe. Under the deal, Ankara agreed to take measures to stop people from traveling illegally to Europe and to accept failed asylum seekers from Europe, in exchange for funds provided by the EU.

Yazidis are a Kurdish speaking religious-minority people, mostly settled in the governorates of Nineveh and Duhok in northern Iraq. Thousands of Yazidis were killed by ISIS attacks on Sinjar in 2014, and thousands of women and children were enslaved by ISIS to be sold in slave markets. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis fled their homeland to seek refuge elsewhere.