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Ezidis find a safe haven in Turkey

After seventeen days walking in dry, arid plains of northern Iraq with little food or water, at least 600 Ezidi's fleeing Islamic State (IS) militants, finally crossed the border into Turkey on Tuesday. They were met by the residents of a Turkish village called Ortasu in the southeastern Turkish border province of Sirnak. Some entered Turkey illegally from mountainous areas near the border as they cannot cross at the border gate without a passport. The villagers organised trucks and tractors to ferry them to the village where they were settled into the local primary school, were served food and water by and the sick given drugs.
"We have seen so much grief. We saw our children dying of thirst. They killed all in Kocho village (near the Iraqi town of Sinjar). We have been on the road for the last 17 days," Irhan Hirto, a 60-year-old Ezidi, told an AA reporter who had accompanied them on their journey. The Ezidi's will join the nearly two thousand of the minority Iraqi community who have already fled since IS militants began raiding Ezidi towns and villages around Mosul three weeks ago. They will join them in a tent city which is located in the Midyat district of Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin.
They will be accepted into the camp after the completion of health check-ups, district governor Oguzhan Bingol said on Sunday.
They told stories of close escape from the militants. One man, Ezidi Nizam Haidar said IS militants kidnapped his cousins and nobody came to help them so they had to flee on foot. According to Iraq’s human rights minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, the IS killed hundreds of Ezidis and buried some alive, including women and children. As well as those massacred by the militants, many died of thirst and starvation before a rescue operation was launched. The self-styled Islamic State has declared a 'caliphate' in the territories it has captured in Iraq and Syria, and seeks to expand it by lifting national boundaries in the Middle East drawn by European nations in the wake of World War I.

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