Despite increased international attention to the humanitarian crisis in Northern Iraq, many civilians are still suffering from the lack of assistance during their displacement and attacks by IS.
Humanitarian aid was air-dropped on August 8 on Sinjar mountains, relieving the suffering of hundreds of Yezidi refugees who had fled their villages four days earlier. Since last weekend, armed forces were able to facilitate rescue through opening a corridor. However, thousands of Yezidis are still under the threat of IS; some still trapped in the mountains while villages located south of the town of Sinjar are currently under full control of IS.
Death or conversion
The IS extended a deadline to convert to Islam to today (Tuesday, August 12) or be killed. PAX partners on the ground helped to facilitate contact between villagers, the United Nations and the military forces to seek rescue. So far, villagers are still waiting for help and shared they prefer to commit suicide rather than being killed by the hands of IS. PAX partners also shared horrific stories of Yezidi women being kidnapped and sent to Syria or a Mosul prison to be married off to extremist fighters.
Yezidis and other minorities feel abandoned
Yezidis are more scared than ever as they feel unsafe within the Kurdish Region. They felt abandoned by the Kurdish forces who were unable to provide adequate protection leading to the tragedy that occurred in the mountains of Sinjar. Many Yezidi families are considering fleeing to Turkey if US intervention is not able to secure areas. Meanwhile, the political stalemate in Bagdad is worsening and greatly affects a united response to the humanitarian and security crisis in Northern Iraq. IS continues to benefit from this crisis and threatens the lives of many more Iraqi civilians, many of them religious or ethnic minorities, in many parts of Iraq.