Yezidi residents in danger after Islamic State seizes Şengal
Kurdish peshmerge units and armed Yezidi residents joined forces to resist IS advancing into territory under Kurdish control but peshmerge forces had to withdraw due to lack of ammunition which consequently led IS to move towards Şengal, a town in Nineveh Governorate in northern Iraq where the majority of residents are Yezidis.
The Yezidis are perceived as apostates by extremist Muslims and could be in great danger if caught by IS. The New York Times reports that a Yezidi nurse, Sami Hassan, was approached by an IS fighter who asked about Hassan’s sect and tried to shoot him as Hassan fled.
The AFP quotes a top-level source with the peshmerge as saying, “The peshmerge have withdrawn to mountain areas and are getting reinforcements.”
The UN estimates that around 200,000 people have sought shelter in the mountains from the Islamic State. Already thousands of them where internally displaced people who had fled from IS when it launched its huge offensive in the region in June, writes AFP. The residents fled on foot and without vital supplies like water.
According to the Kurdish news site Firat News, IS has declared that if the Yezidis who have sought refuge in the mountains do not convert to Islam, they will be killed.
Nickolay E. Mladenov, Head of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), said in a statement that “A humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Sinjar.”
Kurdish forces have called on assistance from YPG, the Kurdish fighters in Rojava (northern Syria), who are also embedded in battle with the Islamic State in Kobanê. At least two YPG fighters have been killed in clashes in Iraq, the Washington Post reports.
This video shows YPG being greeted by Kurds in Şengal when they arrived today.
A Yezidi member of parliament in Iraq makes an emotonal appeal to parliament that the people fleeing Şengal due to ISIS terror is in need of urgent protection and humanitarian aid.