News / Middle East

    Iraqi Minister: Islamic State Militants Killed at Least 500 Yazidis

    • The United States began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq. Here displaced people, who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh, arrive at Sulaimaniya province, Aug. 8, 2014.
    • Shi'ite Muslims listen to Sheikh Abdul Mehdi Al-Karbala'i speak as he delivers the text of a sermon by Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, during Friday prayers at the Imam Hussein shrine in the holy city of Karbala, Aug. 8, 2014.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the humanitarian relief situation in Iraq inside the State Dining Room of the White House, in Washington, DC, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Demonstrators ask for help for Yazidi people who are stranded by violence in northern Iraq, across from the White House in Washington, DC, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect take refuge at Dohuk province, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Displaced Iraqis take refuge at Dohuk province, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Displaced Iraqi Christians settle at St. Joseph Church in Irbil, northern Iraq, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Kurdish peshmerga troops patrol in a tank during an operation against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Displaced families from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the violence, walk on the outskirts of Sinjar, west of Mosul, Aug. 5, 2014.
    Developments in Iraq
    Reuters

    Islamic State militants have killed at least 500 members of Iraq's Yazidi ethnic minority during their offensive in the north, Iraq's human rights minister told Reuters on Sunday.

    Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said the Sunni militants had also buried alive some of their victims, including women and children. Some 300 women were kidnapped as slaves, he added. 

    “We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic States have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” Sudani said in a telephone interview, in his first remarks to the media on the issue.

    Sinjar is the ancient home of the Yazidis, one of the towns captured by the Sunni militants who view the community as “devil worshipers” and tell them to convert to Islam or face death.

    Sunday deadline

    A deadline passed at midday on Sunday for 300 Yazidi families to convert to Islam or face death at the hands of the militants. It was not immediately clear whether the Iraqi minister was talking about the fate of those families or others in the conflict.

    “Some of the victims, including women and children were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar,” Sudani said.

    The minister's comments could pile pressure on the United States - which has carried out air strikes on Islamic State targets in response to the group's latest push through the north - to provide more extensive support.

    “In some of the images we have obtained there are lines of dead Yazidis who have been shot in the head while the Islamic State fighters cheer and wave their weapons over the corpses,” said Sudani. “This is a vicious atrocity.”

    The Islamic State group, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, has prompted tens of thousands of Yazidis and Christians to flee for their lives during their push to within a 30-minute drive of the Kurdish regional capital Irbil.

    Boast of killings

    Earlier in their push through northern Iraq, the group known as Islamic State in the Levant and now calling itself the Islamic State, considers all Shi'ites heretics who must repent or die, boasted of killing hundreds of captive Shi'ite soldiers after capturing the city of Tikrit on June 12.

    They put footage on the Internet of their fighters shooting prisoners.

    The Yazidis, followers of an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism, are spread over northern Iraq and are part of the country's Kurdish minority.

    Many of their villages were destroyed when Saddam Hussein's troops tried to crush the Kurds during his iron-fisted rule. Some were taken away by the executed former leader's intelligence agents.

    Now they are on the defensive again. Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled for their lives after Kurdish fighters abandoned them in the face of Islamic State militants, and are trapped on a mountain near Sinjar at risk of starvation.

    “We spoke to some of the Yazidis who fled from Sinjar. We have dozens of accounts and witness testimonies describing painful scenes of how Islamic State fighters arrived and took girls from their families by force to use them as slaves,” Sudani said.

    “The terrorist Islamic State has also taken at least 300 Yazidi women as slaves and locked some of them inside a police station in Sinjar and transferred others to the town of Tal Afar. We are afraid they will take them outside the country," he added.

    “The international community should submit to the fact that the atrocities of the Islamic State will not stop in Iraq and could be repeated somewhere else if no urgent measures were taken to neutralize this terrorist group,” Sudani said.

    “It's now the responsibility of the international community to take a firm stand against the Islamic State to reach a consensus on a legitimate decision to start the war on Islamic State to stop genocides and atrocities against civilians," he said.

    The militant group, which arrived in northern Iraq in June, has routed Kurds in its latest advance, seizing several towns, a fifth oilfield and Iraq's biggest dam - possibly gaining the ability to flood cities and cut off water and power supplies.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Faiyaz Ahmed S M from: India
    August 10, 2014 1:33 PM
    The sudden appearance and unhindered spread of ISIL is baffling. The U S ruled Iraq by proxy till recently. U S army was stationed in Iraq. Then how did the U S miss the birth and mammoth growth of ISIL? Was ISIL patronized by the U S like the Afghan Mujahedeen and it metamorphosed into a monster that can't be contained?

    by: Francis mburu from: kenya
    August 10, 2014 1:26 PM
    it's very disheartening that billions of people are watching a slaughter without taking any action. it's true we are 1st class animals.


    by: Dr. M. Lumley from: UK
    August 10, 2014 12:16 PM
    The real crime here is that of the BBC/Al Jazeera... they are sitting on a mountain of evidence that will paint in true colors the absolute depravity and debauchery and barbarity and brutality of Hamas and ISIL and Hezbollah and Fatah... and all these Islamic mutants. But the BBC chose not to... that act of volition - knowing that you have material evidence and deliberately concealing it, so as to create a false impression - THAT IS THE CRIME HERE.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    August 10, 2014 12:13 PM
    TRUTH BE TOLD.... Al-Qaeda and the majority of the Sunni Muslim tribes in Iraq, fought the US and NATO coalition forces in the Iraq war from 2003 until 2011, (and when), Al-Qaeda leader al Zawahiri kicked al-Baghdadi out of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, (then), al-Baghdadi went to Syria and recruited the US armed and trained Sunni Muslims who were fighting against Shia Muslim Assad into the (ISIL) Sunni Muslim army, (and then), al-Baghdadi entered Iraq with his new (ISIL) Sunni Muslim army, (and again), the US armed and trained Sunni Muslims in the Iraq army, took the US supplied weapons and joined with the (ISIL) Sunni Muslim army, (and also as planned), the Sunni Muslim tribes that always fought against the US and the Shia Muslim led government of Iraq, also joined with the (ISIL) al-Baghdadi Sunni Muslim army..... (forming the (ISIL) al-Baghdadi Sunni Muslim Caliphate)..

    ONLY FOOLISH PEOPLE believe that the (ISIL) al-Baghdadi army isn't waging a Sunni Muslim Holy War, with intentions of overwhelming the Islamic world and forming a new al-Baghdadi (ISIL) Sunni Muslim Caliphate, and rid the world of Shia Muslims, who al-Baghdadi calls "the dirty ones" and either convert people of different religions to Sunni Muslims, or kill them.....

    ONLY FOOLISH PEOPLE think that al-Maliki can form a trustworthy coalition with the Sunni Muslim tribes or individuals, who have already sworn to al-Baghdadi the (Bay'ah), the oath of allegiance to obey him, and submit to him, and not make war on him, as long as it does not disobey the laws of Allah, and to make Allah's word supreme in the world, and to restore the glory of Sunni Muslim Islam....

    PS;... ONLY FOOLISH PEOPLE think al-Maliki can form a coalition government with the Sunni Muslims, who have already surrendered the Sunni Muslim cities and towns to al-Baghdadi and joined the (ISIL) Sunni Muslim army, (and), also swore the (Bay'ah) oath allegiance to him, (to kill Shia Muslims, and convert by the sword people of other religions, or kill them..... (WHAT part of the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) Sunni Muslim army, or the allegiance of the other Sunni Muslims to al-Baghdadi, don't foolish people understand?).
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    August 10, 2014 3:48 PM
    Only foolish people believe you. Radical Muslim want to enforce sharia law and establish an Islamic empire similar to the Islamic empire that was existed thousands years. When Muslim invade the countries thousand years are forced people to convert to Islam. the Christian community and yazadi was living In Iraq long time when Islam Existed . When the Muslim invaded Iraq thousand years ago .they kill millions in Iraq . They killed millions of Christian and yazadi . the ISIS want to restore the legacy of Islamic empire. they choose the same methods which The Muslim did in the past. ISIS goal is similar to Osama bin laden group. Isis goal is similar to Muslim brotherhood. the only difference is that each terrorist organization use different strategy . one choose use an aggressive methods than other . the goal is the same and they will not achieved it . Sooner or latter they be defeated . at that time ,they understand that GOD is not with them . God is lovable god and he is not murdered nor choose killing as a means to achieve its goal.

    by: ali baba from: new york
    August 10, 2014 9:44 AM
    The Iraq Army has to use their troops and fight with the Kurds. the Kurds are not so strong. The American Give hands by air strike and Iraq has to use its force to fight ISIS . Killing yazadi with such barbaric way is not acceptable . ISIS is a Psychopath and explain how fanatic can commit horrible crime. please stop calling Islam is a peaceful religion.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.