Startling Photos Show Yazidis Under Siege By ISIS Fleeing Into Syria By The Thousands
As ISIS terrorizes northern Iraq and Kurdistan, they've picked out one group in particular to attack: the Yazidis.
The Yazidis are a small Kurdish minority who belong to a religion that blends Sufism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism.
The Islamic State sees Yazidis as devil-worshippers and have made it their mission to force them to convert or be killed.
After ISIS began to advance towards Yazidi towns in Iraq's north, many fled their homes into the nearby mountains. As many as 70,000 Yazidis have been trapped on Mount Sinjar for the past week.
As ISIS has pushed closer to Yazidi positions on Mount Sinjar, the Yazidis have been forced to take their chances with a dangerous route and flee towards the Syrian border.
Over the weekend, Syrian Kurds successfully carved out an escape route for those trapped on Mount Sinjar to make it into Syria, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It is estimated that around 20-30,000 have made it out so far.
GoogleMapsTemperatures on the mountain and in the region are in the 90s. They have little water or food, which makes traveling difficult.
REUTERS/Rodi Said That has begun to change, as U.S., British, and Iraqi forces are dropping humanitarian supplies to trapped Yazidis. This image from U.S. Central Command shows Yazidis approaching humanitarian bundles after they've been dropped by U.S. forces.
REUTERS/U.S. Central Command/HandoutThe journey, which most have to do on foot, is particularly arduous for the many Yazidis that are women, children, elderly, or disabled.
REUTERS/Rodi Said Some have been able to find donkeys to ride across the border.
REUTERS/Rodi Said The Kurdish peshmerga have been overseeing the operation, but that hardly makes it a safe route. ISIS militants have been attacking the Kurds along the route.
REUTERS/Rodi Said There are some vehicles to carry Yazidis, but hardly enough for all those attempting to flee.
REUTERS/Rodi Said Many Yazidis that have made it across have settled at refugee camps in Derike, Syria.
AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed, FileFor those that continue, the route leads to the Fishkhabur crossing, which brings them into Iraqi Kurdistan, according to The Guardian. Though under siege by ISIS, Kurdistan remains possibly the safest place in the area for the Yazidi right now.
REUTERS/U.S. Central Command/Handout
AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed, File
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