World Bulletin / News Desk
As many as 500 people from Iraq's Yazidi religious minority have been killed by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIL – in the town of Sinjar since Sunday, a Yazidi lawmaker has claimed.
"ISIL has killed 500 Yazidis and abducted 500 women as slave concubines in Sinjar," Iraqi MP Fayyan Daheel told a press conference Tuesday in the parliament in Baghdad.
He said the enslaved women had been taken to some areas near the city of Tal Afar, which is also under ISIL control.
The ISIL-led militants seized control of the town of Sinjar near the city of Mosul on Sunday after fierce clashes, which saw Kurdish Peshmerga forces withdraw from the region they had protected since insurgents overran Mosul and surrounding localities in June.
Sinjar is the traditional home of the Yazidi, an eclectic religious sect fusing Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian Christian and Islamic elements.
"The Yazidi religion is currently being wiped out at the hands of ISIL," Daheel said, warning against a possible genocide.
Tens of thousands fled the weekend assault on Sinjar and are now surrounded, according to witnesses and the United Nation.
Many panicked Yazidis scrambled to find water and food for their children before climbing into their vehicles and rushing to surrounding mountains.
Some of the most vulnerable could not withstand the weekend offensive. Almost 70 children between the ages of one month and four died of thirst or hunger, said Daheel.
The U.N. children's agency said families who fled the area are in immediate need of urgent assistance, including up to 25,000 children stranded in mountains.
"The reported deaths of 40 children from minority groups who were displaced from Sinjar city and district by armed violence are of extreme concern," UNICEF said in a statement.
"According to official reports received by UNICEF, these children from the Yazidi minority died as a direct consequence of violence, displacement and dehydration over the past two days."
Sinjar district's estimated population of 308,000 includes about 150,000 children, said UNICEF.
"We are feeling so frustrated to see the peshmerga fleeing the town and leaving us alone face to face with Islamic State fighters," said farmer Haji Beso, 47, a resident of Sinjar who also operates a small pickup truck that transports goods.
"It was their duty to protect innocent people and die if they had to but they chose to flee without shooting a bullet."
Sinjar, the ancestral home to the Yazidi religious sect, felt helpless. Then the exodus began.
"After the peshmerga let us down and fled without fighting we couldn't stay because we know that we would need a miracle to avoid the Islamic State's brutality," said Alyas Khudhir, a 33-year-old government employee with three children.
"I'm sleeping with my kids on rocks and food is scarce. I have collected some tree leafs to feed my kids if food runs out. We are slowly dying and nobody cares about us."
Kareem Sido, 60, who grows tomatoes and cucumbers on his farm, decided to return to Sinjar when conditions on the mountain became too desperate.
Like many he was scared that snakes and scorpions could hurt his loved ones. After watching two babies die from the heat, he decided to return home.
On arrival, he was stopped at an Islamic State checkpoint. A fighter asked him why he had left and said there was no reason to fear the Islamic State, as long as he played by its rules.
"All you have to do is put a white flag on the roof of your house and declare you will obey us," Sido quoted the militant as saying.
When he climbed up to his roof he looked across Sinjar and saw a sea of white flags.Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Ağustos 2014, 11:30