Iraq crisis felt in Nebraska - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Iraq crisis felt in Nebraska

By: Megan Conway

As the crisis in northern Iraq continues, the effects are felt even in Nebraska. Despite the U.S.'s help Isis militants continue to wreak havoc on the Yezidi's in Iraq. 

"Everybody is really sad and heart broken by the terrible events," says Haval Khalil, local Yezidi.

Lincoln has a large population of Yezidi people; many of them still trying to hold onto hope. The local Yezidi community has held two protests to gain attention from state government, now some are headed to New York. 

20 years ago Khalil's parents fled Iraq because of a similar persecution. Now years later, he's seeing the same thing happening to his family still living in Iraq.

"They don't really have a home in Iraq anymore. Their homes have been destroyed and robbed, their leaders have been killed and the girls have been sold to other countries," says Khalil. 

There have been some victories though. Just this week Isis fighters in Iraq suffered a rare defeat, losing control of the country's largest dam. With the help of American air power, Iraqi forces have now retaken control of the critical facility.

"Tair strikeskes have definitely helped a little," says Khalil.

Still, Khalil says it's unlikely Iraq will ever return to how things were, so now the best option for the Yezidi people....

"I think they have to get out of that country and find a peaceful place to live," says Khalil. 

Khalil still has family living in Iraq that has had to flee their home. They were forced to leave behind their money, valuables and mementos. His family is trying to send money to help get them into a safer country. Many of the Lincoln Yezidi community have been trying to help families, but distance makes it difficult.

"We have like around 200 families here in Lincoln, Nebraska," says Khalil.

Khalil is hoping the Yezidi's headed east can gain more attention from the government. Until then he'll continue to try and help his family anyway he can. 

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