Iraq's human rights minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, painted a disturbing picture of ongoing atrocities against the Yazidis, a religious minority in the country, to Reuters this morning.
While there was no other confirmation of the events Sudani described, the official reports that hundreds of Yazidis have been executed for refusing to convert to Islam. Islamic state militants consider the Yazidis "devil worshippers," and have reportedly taken at least 300 Yazidi women as slaves. In Sinjar, Sudani said ISIS had killed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing the city.
"Some of the victims, including women and children, were buried alive in scattered mass graves," he said. "In some of the images we have obtained, there are lines of dead Yazidis…while the Islamic State fighters cheer and wave their weapons over the corpses. This is a vicious atrocity."
United States President Barack Obama said on Saturday that America, along with other international bodies, is committed to assisting in humanitarian aid efforts. The U.S. has dropped several rounds of relief supplies to thousands of Yazidis seeking refuge on an isolated mountain in northern Iraq, and Kurdish forces have tried to open a safe route to refugee camps for the group. But, "the Kurds are hopelessly outgunned," August Hanning, a former head of German intelligence, said in an interview.