Iraq Daily: Kurdish Peshmerga Forces Reach Yazidis Trapped on Mountain / A SUMMARY OF THE EVENTS


By Scott Lucas August 10, 2014 07 1350 GMT: During a visit by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani urged countries to send arms to help Kurdish forces push back the Islamic State. Barzani said, “We are not fighting a terrorist organisation, we are fighting a terrorist state.”UPDATE 1345 GMT: Iraq’s Human Rights Minister claims Islamic State fighters killed at least 500 members of the Yazidi community as they advanced in the northwest of the country.

Mohammad Shia al-Sudani said the jihadist buried alive some of their victims, including women and children. He added that almost 300 women were kidnapped as slaves.

“We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images
that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic States have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” Sudani told

Kurdish peshmerga forces say they have opened a road to Mount Sinjar in northwestern Iraq, rescuing more than 5,000 Yazidis who fled there after the jihadist Islamic State took over Sinjar city last week.

“I can confirm that we succeeded in reaching the mountains and opening a road for the refugees,” said spokesman Halgord Hikmet.

More than 200,000 Iraqis fled the fighting in and near Sinjar, and more than 40,000 Yazidis — a faith mixing Zoroastrianism, pre-Christian beliefs, and Islam — were on the mountain and at risk of death from thirst and the conditions. Scores reportedly had perished since last Sunday.

Hikmet said that US airstrikes on Islamic State positions had allowed the peshmerga to open a route to the mountain.

The Pentagon said that the US carried out four more airstrikes on Saturday, using fighter jets and drones against Islamic State armored personnel carriers.

The US dropped food and water onto Mount Sinjar on Friday and Saturday. Britain joined the relief effort yesterday.

In Washington, President Obama repeated the rationale for the US operations, both for the humanitarian cause of the refugees and to protect the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil from the Islamic State’s advance. While assuring that the US was not being pulled into another Iraq war, he said the military effort would continue as long as necessary.