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.