Yazidi Survivor Claims Muslim Neighbors Joined ISIS Slaughter

CNN reported that an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people remain on Mount Sinjar, as of yesterday as “a few thousand” more are reportedly moving toward the mountain from their villages.

Thanks to the help of Syrian Kurdish fighters, thousands who have been able to escape the mountain into Kurdish held territory in Syria and eventually back to now safe Kurdistan in Iraq.   CNN calls the Yazidi displacement an “exodus of almost biblical proportions,” as thousands of refuges trudge across a river to escape killers belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.  

One Yazidi man told CNN that after ISIS arrived in his town, his Muslim neighbors actually ratted them out – and helped ISIS kill members of the various minorities.

Entire families carry nothing but the clothes on their backs. Some are barefoot.

Jamal Jamir, a 23-year-old university student from Sinjar, told CNN his family fled to the barren and windswept Mount Sinjar more than a week ago after ISIS captured their town. The group, which calls itself the Islamic State, has been on a rampage, killing members of various minorities, including Yazidis.

Jamir said after ISIS arrived in his town, Arab neighbors of his turned on the minorities and helped ISIS kill. “They join them, and actually they kill us.”

“People you know?” CNN asked.

“Yes,” he responded. “People — our neighbors!”

Jamir’s family was among tens of thousands who flocked to the mountain and desperately waited for airdrops of food and water.

His family escaped to Mount Sinjar on foot and made a marathon 15-hour journey to Syria. After traveling northeast along the border, many families have been crossing a bridge in Faysh Khabur, back into Kurdish-controlled Iraq.

Jamir said two of his young brothers didn’t make it. “What we do?” he said. “Not enough water and dusty. … They died.

“We are poor people. We don’t have any problem with anybody. We need someone (to) help us.”

The Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi air force have orchestrated helicopter flights to bring necessities to the mountain and lift some people out. One flight crashed Tuesday, killing the pilot and injuring some others on board.

Now, the United States is considering a possible air evacuation, a U.S. official said Wednesday. No decision has yet been made.

Well, take your time, there, Obama. Enjoy your vacation at Martha’s Vineyard while all those people die of thirst and exposure up on the mountain where it gets to 100 degrees or higher. God forbid he take any time off partying and golfing to actually make a decision. 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said late Wednesday “only a few thousand of the refugees remained stranded — far fewer than first thought — and they appeared to be in relatively good shape, reducing the likelihood of a U.S. rescue mission.”

The optimistic report came after 12 to 20 U.S. military personnel landed on the mountain to assess the situation and evaluate how to best conduct a military evacuation.

Their report is somewhat at odds with the CNN’s 10,000-20,000 number of refuges still up on the mountain.

CNN: An uncertain future:

Descendants of Kurds and followers of an ancient pre-Islamic religion, Yazidis are one of Iraq’s smallest minorities. They have faced persecution for centuries and have a strong sense of community.

When the refugees crossed a river and stepped into Syria, their suffering did not end.

Relief workers provided two plates of chicken to a family of 12. People slept in the open, perhaps using scraps of cardboard for a bed.

Many were too sick and exhausted to walk any farther.

It’s unclear what lies ahead for those who managed to escape ISIS and Mount Sinjar. Some aid groups have teams helping, and the United States is working to help Iraqi leaders organize humanitarian relief. But for now, some Yazidis tell CNN as they re-enter Iraqi territory, they play plan to camp out by the river.

ISIS executes civilians who don’t adhere to its version of Sunni Islam. The group celebrates its own savagery, hoisting severed heads on poles and posting numerous videos online.

CNN’s Nick Walsh reported yesterday, that ISIS has captured approximately 100 Yazidi women and children. Most likely, he says, they’ve been given a time frame in which to convert to Islam. If they choose not to convert, Walsh says, “it is likely they’ll suffer what most infidels in the eyes of ISIS tend to suffer – and that is often some type of brutal punishment, indeed.”

UPDATE:

Via Fox News: Obama says militant siege broken – but Iraq mission not over yet:

Obama seems to be taking most of the credit for allowing the Yazidis to escape.

President Obama announced Thursday that U.S.-led airstrikes have broken the siege by Islamic militants against religious minorities who were trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq — but made clear the U.S. mission in the region is not over yet. 

The president, in brief remarks from Martha’s Vineyard where his family is on vacation, said he expects the specific operation at Mount Sinjar to wind down. He said military planners will be leaving in the coming days, aid drops will stop and a U.S.-led evacuation is likely no longer needed. 

“The situation on the mountain has greatly improved,” Obama said. “We broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar. We helped vulnerable people reach safety.” 

But Obama said U.S. involvement will not come to an end, as militants with the Islamic State — also known as ISIS, or ISIL — continue to brutalize the civilian population in the region, especially minorities like Iraqi Christians and Yazidis. 

Obama said “we will continue airstrikes” where necessary to protect American personnel and facilities in Iraq. 

Only a few days ago, a senior Pentagon official said the US air strikes would have minimal impact on stopping ISIS.

Via The Guardian:

A senior Pentagon planning officer expects the current US air strikes in Iraq to have minimal and fleeting impact on the forces of the Islamic State (Isis) that have overrun much of the country.

“In the immediate areas where we have focused our strikes, we’ve had a very temporary effect and we may have blunted some tactical decisions to move in those directions, further east to Irbil,” Army Lt Gen William Mayville told reporters on Monday, providing a dour view of the “limited strikes” president Barack Obama authorized on Thursday.

“What I expect Isil to do is to look for other things to do, to pick up and move elsewhere. So I in no way want to suggest that we have effectively contained or that we are somehow breaking the momentum of the threat posed by Isil.” Isil is the acronym for Isis favored by the US government.

The air strikes, now in their fourth day and still something less than a concerted air campaign, have bought US-backed Kurdish irregular forces, known as Peshmerga, “time to fortify their defensive positions” outside the regional capital of Irbil, said Mayville, the director of operations for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, and have slowed Isis’ advance toward the crucial city.

Beyond that, said Mayville, who commanded a brigade during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the strikes “are unlikely to affect Isil’s overall abilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria”.

SEE ALSO:

Weasel Zippers: ISIS Chopping Off Arms And Legs Of Yazidi Men For Being “Devil Worshippers”…

Video: Syrian Kurdish Fighters Rescue Stranded Yazidis While US Backs Away

It’s not clear exactly how many Yazidis remain on the Mount Sinjar, but thousands have been able to climb down to safety with the help of Syrian Kurdish fighters who battled the ISIS barbarians to carve out an escape route for them.

Via Stars and Stripes:

While the U.S. and Iraqi militaries struggle to aid the starving members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority with supply drops from the air, the Syrian Kurds took it on themselves to rescue them. The move underlined how they – like Iraqi Kurds – are using the region’s conflicts to establish their own rule.

For the past few days, fighters have been rescuing Yazidis from the mountain, transporting them into Syrian territory to give them first aid, food and water, and returning some to Iraq via a pontoon bridge.

The Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority who follow an ancient Mesopotamian faith, started to flee to the Sinjar mountain chain on Aug. 2, when militants from the extremist Islamic State group took over their nearby villages. The militants see them as heretics worthy of death.

“The (Kurdish fighters) opened a path for us. If they had not, we would still be stranded on the mountain,” said Ismail Rashu, 22, in the Newroz camp in the Syrian Kurdish town of Malikiya some 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the Iraqi border. Families had filled the battered, dusty tents here and new arrivals sat in the shade of rocks, sleeping on blue plastic sheets. Camp officials estimated that at least 2,000 families sought shelter there on Sunday evening.

Here’s CBN News coverage of the refuge camp in Syria.

This BBC report shows thousands of Yazidis seeking safety in northern Iraq, after crossing into Syria by foot and walking back into Kurdistan.

Officials for the Kurdish regional government say some 20,000 to 30,000 people managed to cross the Iraqi-Syrian border at the weekend.

Many said they hadn’t eaten for days on the mountain; their lips were cracked from dehydration and heat, their feet swollen and blackened from walking. Some elderly, disabled and young children were left behind. Others were still walking to where Syrian Kurds were rescuing them, they said.

“We are thankful, from our heads to the sky, to the last day on earth,” said Naji Hassan, a Yazidi at the Tigris river border crossing, where thousands of rescued Yazidis were heading back into Iraq on Sunday.

The U.N. estimated around 50,000 Yazidis fled to the mountain. But by Sunday, Kurdish officials said at least 45,000 had crossed through the safe passage, leaving thousands more behind and suggesting the number of stranded was higher.

***

The U.S. has since assisted the peshmerga fighters with airstrikes, and on Tuesday, a U.S. drone strike destroyed a militant mortar position threatening Kurdish forces defending refugees near the Syrian border. A day earlier, the U.S. said it would provide more weapons directly to Kurdish forces, but it was unclear what materiel was under consideration. Later Tuesday, the Iraqi military said a helicopter delivering aid to the displaced had crashed.

For now, with the peshmerga gone and state aid ineffective, the Yazidis who survived the mountaintop ordeal were counting on the Syrian Kurdish fighters. Covered in dust among crowds at the Tigris crossing, Hassan said without the fighters all would have been lost.

“Were it not for them, no Yazidi would be saved,” he said.

With just a few thousand Yazidis left on the mountain, and the Syrian Kurds doing a great job getting them out, the US Defense Dept is signalling that it is backing out of it’s promise to help with the rescue.

Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, filling in for Megyn Kelly had on Seth Jones from the Intl Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corp to talk about the US role in Iraq.

“To pretend that we don’t have a national security interest to this I think is a big mistake,” Jones said.

Linked by Doug Ross, thanks!