Desperation in Iraq’s Sinjar Mountains

(CNN) — The Sinjar Mountains rise suddenly from the endless desert of northern Iraq, a ridge of craggy rock some 50 kilometers (30 miles) long, running east to west. Barren and windswept, some 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) high, they make a forbidding sight. But for centuries, they have been the refuge of the desperate and a place of mystical importance.

Last week, the mountains saw another influx, as tens of thousands of people tried to escape the rapid advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which now calls itself the Islamic State. Many of them were Yazidis, being killed by these Islam extremists.

In a matter of months, the group seized territory in both Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic caliphate, celebrating its own shocking slaughter along the way.

“I don’t see any attention from the rest of the world,” a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq told the New Yorker. “In one day, they killed more than two thousand Yazidi in Sinjar, and the whole world says, ‘Save Gaza, save Gaza.'”

Reports indicates that 20-30 thousand have escaped into Iraqi Kurdistan, while still many thousands are stuck on the mountains, surrounded by ISIS militants.  The US, as well as other caring nations, are dropping food and water, in an effort to stop people from dying of starvation and dehydration.

Unless food and water reach those remaining, mainly on the southern slopes, they have an impossible choice between dying of dehydration and giving themselves up to ISIS. Daytime temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit).

The Iraqi foreign minister expressed thanks for the help for so many thousands of suffering people.

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