Yazidis of Iraq: Know why they are being targeted by ISIS

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Yazidis of Iraq: Know why they are being targeted by ISIS
Bangalore, Aug 13: The United States is currently is considering a military strike in Iraq to rescue thousands of Yazidi community refugees who are  trapped in Mount Sinjar.  They are being targeted by Sunni fighters group called ISIS.

Reportedly, thousands of Yazidis have fled from the Sinjar region and around 20,000 people are hiding in the mountain with little food and other necessities. 

Who are Yazidis?

• Yazidis are ethno-minorities who are identified as Kurds. Most other Iraqis are ethnically Arab.

• Yazidis' religion and social structure is different from Iraq's Kurds, who are mostly Sunni Muslims.

• Yazidi's mode of worship is often misunderstood as Satanism or Satan worship

• Yazidis are placed at the lowest level of Iraq's social heirarchy

• The Yazidi community lives in northern Iraq, in north-central Ninevah province and northeastern Iraqi Kurdistan.

• Yazidis have been living in Iraq for about a thousand years.

• There are about 600,000 Yazidis worldwide. In Iraq, Yazidi population is around 400,000 - 500,000.

Islamic militants and Yazidi persecution

•  Yazidis have been targeted by Islamic militant organisation ISIS. UN calls it a possible 'genocide'.

•  In 2007, Al-Qaeda terror group had targeted Yazidis suspecting them of devil worship. They were saved after American troops and Iraqi Sunni militias combated al-Qaeda

• In 2014, after ISIS invaded Syria, Yazidis from Syria fled to Iraq.

• ISIS has vowed to kill all those Yazidis who refuse to convert to Sunni Islam

• Later, ISIS attacked Iraq's Kurdish provinces, forcing Kurds and Yazidis to flee to mountains. Many families are stuck in Mount Sinjar without food or water.

•  According to Iraq government, ISIS has killed at least 500 Yazidis, burying some of their victims alive and kidnapping hundreds of women.

US, UN intervention

• The US military carried out four air strikes on Isis positions near Mount Sinjar on Saturday.

• Britain, Iraq, Turkey and US have been airdropping food and water to those still trapped in the mountain.

• Iraq's Kurdish Muslim fighters have also been helping Yazidis reach safe haven.

• Obama has assured Yazidis of limited air campaign.

• Obama has said that military campaign alone won't save Yazidis. he has asked Iraq to form a new, stronger government.

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