The EU has condemned the “rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Iraq, as Islamic militants purportedly kill hundreds of Iraq’s minority Yazidis.
“We are appalled by the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation with hundreds of thousands civilians, mainly from minorities, fleeing the areas of conflict as a result of persecution and violation of basic human rights,” the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement on Sunday.
Islamic State (IS) militants, who have made significant advances into northern Iraq, have killed hundreds of Yazidis, burying some alive and taking women as slaves, an Iraqi government minister has said, as US warplanes again bombed the insurgents over the weekend.
Iraqi human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani told Reuters that accounts of the killings had come from people who had escaped the town of Sinjar, an ancient home of the Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking community whose religion has set them apart from Muslims and other local faiths.
“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 State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” he said.
There has yet to be independent confirmation of the slaughter, however.
On Sunday, American warplanes and drones flew five missions over northern Iraq, bombing jihadist vehicles that were shelling Kurdish troops. (pg)
Photo: Ex-combatants of the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who volunteered again to fight with Kurdish forces against the militants from the Islamic State, take up position near Khazer town near Mosul city, northern Iraq, 10 August 2014. According to media reports, Khazer has fallen to Islamic State (IS) fighters. Several Iraqi towns that were taken over by the Peshmerga in June, have fallen to Islamist insurgents in the past week. The Islamic State – an al-Qaeda splinter group – seized large chunks of Iraq in June. EPA/MOHAMMED JALIL