As many as 500 people from Iraq's Yazidi religious minority have been killed by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIL – in the town of Sinjar since Sunday, a Yazidi lawmaker has claimed. "ISIL has killed 500 Yazidis and abducted 500 women as slave concubines in Sinjar," Iraqi MP Fayyan Dahel told a press conference Tuesday in the parliament in Baghdad. He said the enslaved women had been taken to some areas near the city of Tel Afar, which is also under ISIL control. The ISIL-led militants seized control of the town of Sinjar near the city of Mosul on Sunday after fierce clashes, which saw Kurdish Peshmerga forces withdraw from the region they had protected since insurgents overran Mosul and surrounding localities in June. Sinjar is the traditional home of the Yazidi, an eclectic religious sect fusing Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian Christian and Islamic elements. It is regarded as heretical by orthodox Islamic scholars.
"The Yazidi religion is currently being wiped out at the hands of ISIL," Daheel said, warning against a possible genocide.
He said around 100 people had lost their lives out of the 30,000 Yazidis who had fled for shelter following the advance of ISIL.
Tension continued to remain high in Iraq after the ISIL-led militants, also backed by tribal fighters, seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul on June 10 and captured a number of other cities in the north, including Tikrit and Tal Afar.
Thousands of Iraqi Yazidis flee ISIL militants
Thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq have fled for shelter following the advance of militant Islamic State – ISIL – rebels into their homeland on Tuesday.
The Yazidi people, an ancient minority, are a significant part of the population in Sinjar town, west of Mosul. Their faith is composed of elements of Christianity, Sufi Islam and Zoroastrianism and is regarded as heretical by Islamist hardliners.
Many Yazidis have gone to a mountainous region called Lalish, about 50km out of Dohuk, north of Mosul.
On Sunday, Islamic State seized Sinjar after forcing the Kurdish forces out of the region. Local people said the militants would execute them for refusing to convert to Islam.
Baba Sheik, a Yazidi spiritual leader, told Anadolu Agency that the ISIL militants demanded that his community become Muslim, otherwise they would be killed. "We have been given a few hours to take a deicision," he said.
Around 30,000 Yazidis were left stranded in Sinjar mountain, said local activist Narin Shemo, claiming that 45 children had died of thirst and that 50 women were being held at Telafar Airport for "jihad" marriage with the militants.
- Militants ‘seize UN aid’
Noting the United Nations sent humanitarian aid with three helicopters, Shemo said they left the supplies in a remote area due to security reasons but that only one helicopter managed to bring aid to the stranded people as militants seized the other U.N. material.
He also claimed that 30 women allegedly abducted from Zorawa and Duhola villages of Sinjar region on Tuesday had not been heard from.
- Forced conversions
Islamic State has previously issued a decree that Christians in Mosul could stay in the city, but should adopt Islam.
On Sunday, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani vowed not to leave an acre of Kurdish land to militants and to protect Mount Sinjar near the Syrian border, as well as the Yazidi people taking shelter there.
Tension continued to remain high in Iraq after the militants, also backed by tribal fighters, seized Iraq's second-largest city Mosul on June 10 and captured a number of other cities in the north, including Tikrit and Tal Afar.
They also reportedly control Al Qaim, Rawah, Anah, Al Ratba and Haditha in the western province of Al Anbar. Around one million civilians have been displaced so far amid the ongoing clashes in the country.