A portrait of Dersim, a 21 year old Yazidi refugee from Sinjar. Dersim, who once wanted to become a beautician, is now a member of YBJ, a female Yazidi battalion of the Sinjar Resistance forces (YPG) which is trained by Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) fighters from Turkey, Syria and Iran. 'One month after I started working at a local beauty parlour in Sinjar, Islamic State (IS) attacked us. I was running to the mountain and was hoping that Peshmerga and Kurdish fighters would protect us but they ran away too and it was only PKK fighters who protected and supported us. When I saw women from Syria who were fighting for us in August (2014) I thought I also wanted to be like them and protect ourselves in future. I don't want to get married, I don't need children and I'm even ready to die for Sinjar.' Dersim says.
Thousands of Yazidis fled to the mountains when Islamic State (IS) fighters attacked towns and villages around Sinjar in August 2014. Since then Yazidi refugees have been living in precarious conditions with no electricity or running water and children haven't been attending school. Support from the international community has been insufficient and people are dying of hunger and disease. Until December 2014 the mountains were surrounded by IS. Now the southern part of the mountains is still under IS control.