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U.S. Bombs Northern Iraq To Save Ethnic Minority

Ashley Yang |
August 8, 2014 | 7:04 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

The ISIS seeks the destruction of an entire people. (National Museum of Georgia, Wikimedia Commons)
The ISIS seeks the destruction of an entire people. (National Museum of Georgia, Wikimedia Commons)
American air strikes in Kurdistan aren’t simply to protect American citizens in the Kurdish capital of Erbil - they’re also to break the ISIS siege of Mount Sinjar, where Yazidis, an ethnic minority in Iraq have fled to escape persecution (via Vox). 

“In recent days, Yazidi women, men, and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives,” President Obama stated when announcing the airstrikes. “Thousands…are now hiding high up on [a] mountain, with little but the clothes on their backs.” 

READ MORE: U.S. Bombs ISIS In Iraq - Now What?

The Yazidis have lived in northern Iraq, and specifically the Nineveh plain and Kurdistan for 1000 years. There are 600,000 Yazidis worldwide, but between 400,000 to 500,000 live in Iraq. Most Yazidis consider themselves Kurds. Though their religion and social structure set them apart from the rest of Iraqi Kurds, who are Sunni Muslims, the two peoples have coexisted in Northern Iraq for generations.

Because their faith is commonly misunderstood as devil worship, Yazidis have faced persecution by the Sunni Arab majority, most recently Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime.  

Yazidis have historically sought refuge in the mountains of Northern Iraq. But to stay out of range of the ISIS’s sophisticated weapons, they were forced into remote areas devoid of food or water and are now starving to death. Both the United Nations and the United States have declared these conditions to be imminent acts of genocide.

Reach Executive Producer Ashley Yang here, or follow her on Twitter. 



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