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Kocho, Iraq

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Kojo, Koço

Kocho is located in Iraq
Kocho within Iraq
Coordinates: 36°10′N 41°44′E / 36.167°N 41.733°E / 36.167; 41.733
Country Iraq
DistrictSinjar District
 • Total2,000 (before ISIS massacre)[1]
Time zoneUTC+3 (GMT+3)

Kocho (or Kojo, Kurdish: کۆچۆ ,Koço‎,[2][3] Arabic: كوجو‎) is a Yazidi village in the Sinjar District, southern of the Sinjar Mountains in the Nineveh Governorate of northern Iraq. It belongs to the disputed territories of Northern Iraq. The village gained international fame in 2014 through the genocide of the Islamic State on the Yazidis.[4]


Kocho is like the entire region of Sinjar, one of the most controversial areas in northern Iraq and belongs to the disputed territories of northern Iraq. According to article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, a referendum should decide on the status of the village and the fate of its inhabitants. Since 2003, the village has been occupied by Kurdish Peshmerga troops, who escaped from the village on 2 August 2014. On 3 August 2014, the Islamic State took control over the whole village. On 25 May 2017, Iraqi forces and Yazidi militias liberated the village from ISIS.[5][6][7][8] In March 2019, mass grave exhumations began in Kocho.[9][10]


In Kocho only Yazidis lived and these were mainly farmers.[1]

Massacre of Yazidis from Kocho

On 3 August 2014, the Islamic State committed genocide against the Yazidis. The massacre could only happen because the Kurdish Peshmerga had fled from the ISIS and left the Yazidis defenseless.[11][12] The Islamic State had imprisoned the Yazidi for 12 days in the village and then gave the Yazidis an ultimatum of three days, the Yazidis were to convert to Islam, or the IS would kill them all, since the Yazidis refused to convert to Islam, the massacre started on the 15 August 2014. The IS separated the men from the women and children and took them all to the secondary school of the village, where the people had to hand over their mobile phones and jewelry. An estimated 1826 Yazidis lived in the village of Kocho. The Islamic State beheaded about 600 Yazidi men, some were burned or shot alive. The bodies of the people, including some who were alive, were all thrown into mass graves. Subsequently, the IS abducted more than 1,000 Yazidi children and women from the village. The under-14s were taken to IS military camps where they were trained to become IS terrorists, and the Yazidi women and girls were held as slaves and sexually abused.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] Previously, 90 Yazidis (including 12-year-old boys) were shot dead by IS terrorists in the neighboring village of Qiniyeh on 3 August 2014.[23]

Notable Persons

The Yazidi Human rights activists Nadia Murad and Lamiya Haji Bashar were born in Kocho.[24][25][26][27]


  • Nadia Murad: The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State (Virago, 07.11.2017), ISBN 978-0-349-00974-2
  • Nadia Murad: Ich bin eure Stimme: Das Mädchen, das dem Islamischen Staat entkam und gegen Gewalt und Versklavung kämpft (Knaur, 31.10.2017), ISBN 978-3-426-21429-9 (German)
  • Farida Khalaf: The Girl Who Beat Isis: My Story (Vintage, 07.07.2016), ISBN 978-1- 910931-01-1
  • Farida Khalaf: The Girl Who Escaped ISIS: This Is My Story (Simon and Schuster, 04.07.2017), ISBN 978-1- 78470-275-5
  • Kocho: ISIS Massacre in a Yezidi Village (Paul Kingery, 05.10.2018) ISBN 978-1726768993


  1. ^ a b Kizilhan, Jan Ilhan (10 October 2016). Die Psychologie des IS: Die Logik der Massenmörder (in German). Europa Verlag GmbH & Company KG. ISBN 9783958901155.
  2. ^ "Li Koço goristan". Yeni Özgür Politika (in Kurdish). 5 August 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  3. ^ "گوندی کۆچۆ شوێنە گەورەکەی کۆمەڵکوژیی ئێزدییان بوو" (in Kurdish). 17 August 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  4. ^ "The Yezidi Genocide, Two Years Later". US News.
  5. ^ "Iraq's Disputed Territories" (PDF). United States Institute of Peace. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  6. ^ "After years of murder and enslavement by ISIL, Iraq's Yazidis are determined to liberate their own homeland". The National. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Shingal: Irakische Truppen und Milizen befreien êzîdîsche Dörfer | ÊzîdîPress". (in German). Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Former Yazidi sex slave makes tearful return to her Iraqi village". Reuters. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  9. ^ Salim, Salar (16 March 2019). "Iraq begins exhuming mass grave in Sinjar region". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Iraq opens first IS mass grave in Yazidi region". France 24. AFP. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  11. ^ Phillips, David L. (29 November 2018). The Great Betrayal: How America Abandoned the Kurds and Lost the Middle East. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781786735768.
  12. ^ Murad, Nadia (7 November 2017). The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State. Crown/Archetype. ISBN 9781524760458.
  13. ^ "Yazidi Activist Nadia Murad Speaks Out on the 'Holocaust' of Her People in Iraq". Time. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  14. ^ "ISIS Committed The Most Horrific Crimes In Modern Times In The Yazidi Village of Kojo In Iraq - Al Shahid". Alshahid. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  15. ^ Otten, Cathy (25 July 2017). "Slaves of Isis: the long walk of the Yazidi women". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  16. ^ "With Ash On Their Faces: Yezidi Women And The Islamic State | The Iranian". The Iranian. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  17. ^ Dangeleit, Elke. "Irak: Shengal als geopolitisches Schachbrett". Telepolis (in German). Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Erschütternde Beweise für ethnische Säuberungen im Nordirak durch IS | Amnesty International". (in German). Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Das Massaker von Kocho: Ein Überlebender berichtet | ÊzîdîPress". (in German). Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Testimonies from Kocho: The village ISIS tried to wipe off the map". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  21. ^ "Yezidis return to Kocho school where ISIS killed men, enslaved women". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  22. ^ "ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis" (PDF). OHCHR (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights). 15 June 2016. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Ex-captive of Islamic State sheds tears on return to village in northe". Reuters. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Reluctant champion: How Nadia Murad has become the international face of Yazidi suffering – and resilience". Christian Science Monitor. 24 September 2017. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  26. ^ "When Rape Becomes a Weapon of War". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  27. ^ "Nadia Murad Makes Emotional Visit to Her Yazidi Hometown". Global Citizen. Retrieved 20 January 2018.