MOSCOW, August 10 (RIA Novosti) – Islamic State (IS) militants have killed at least 500 members of the Kurdish minority of Yezidis, Reuters reported Sunday, citing a statement by the Iraqi human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.
According to the agency, the IS militants buried some of their victims alive, including women and children. Iraqi authorities discovered mass graves. Nearly 300 women were also kidnapped and enslaved. Sudani added that these crimes were committed during the offensive that has been conducted by the militants in northern Iraq since the beginning of this summer.
Yezidis are a part of the Kurds ethnic minority, who live mainly in Iraq and Turkey, as well as in Iran, Syria and the South Caucasus. Yezidis have their own religion based on the elements of heathenism, ancient Indo-Iranic beliefs, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Earlier Islamic militants threatened to kill all Yezidis if they did not convert to Islam.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama gave the green light to US airstrikes on IS targets to prevent the "genocide" of the Yezidi population. According to the president, the Western allies are working on opening a “safe corridor” for evacuation of the Yezidis. The militants have blocked a group of ethnic minority members on the mountain. Over the last few days, the United States has conducted three rounds of airstrikes on IS positions using drones.
The Islamic State is a Sunni group that has been fighting in Syria and launched an offensive in Iraq in June. The group has taken over large parts of the country, with the goal of seizing Baghdad. Also in June, the group announced the establishment of a caliphate on the Iraq-Syria border.