Tens of thousands of Yazidis, a minority religious group that has been trapped on Sinjar Mountain, in northwestern Iraq, for nearly a week have reportedly begun to gain safe passage out to Syria, according to a Kurdish army spokesman who talked to Al Jazeera English.
"I can confirm that we succeeded in reaching the mountains and opening a road for the refugees," Halgord Hikmet, a Kurdish security force spokesman, said.
The Yazidis had been trapped on the mountain for the past five days, having fled from ISIS fighters advancing on the region. The United States had airdropped the refugees supplies, as they were stuck in the isolated, hot area with little food or water. Hikmet credited the U.S. airstrikes on ISIS targets with giving Kurdish forces time to open a route to the mountain.
However, The Washington Post reports that only about 10 percent of those seeking refuge on the mountain have managed to leave the barren mountainside so far. And with ISIS occupying many regions the Yazidis call home, they may be forced to flee to refugee camps in war-torn Syria, or seek shelter in Kurdish-held areas of Iraq.