4 000+ Yazidis on Iraq mountain

Washington - There are still 4 000 to 5 000 Yazidi refugees sheltering on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, the Pentagon said on Thursday, after President Barack Obama said the siege of the range had been broken.

Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said US special forces had found that not all of the Yazidis, a religious minority under attack from Islamist extremists, planned to flee.

"A number of them - perhaps 2 000 or so - reside there and may not want to leave. It's home to them and they won't be necessarily looking to leave," he said, downplaying calls for a rescue mission.

"That's our best estimate based on the assessment teams," he said, referring to the 4 000-5 000 number.

Earlier, Obama said the United States was withdrawing the special forces units that conducted the assessment mission to Sinjar after concluding that the Yazidis were no longer in mortal danger.

He said the US air strikes that were launched last week to protect the refugees and the Kurdish city of Arbil could continue, but only if US personnel or facilities were in danger.

"We believe that the threat to the mass violence on Mount Sinjar has passed, largely passed," Kirby said.

"That said, we're not going to take our eye off and we're going to be watching," he said, adding that humanitarian aid drops had continued.

"We still have several thousands left on that mountain and many of whom may want to leave, and so we're mindful of that, which is why we did another air drop last night."

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Anthony De Lucchi 2014-08-15 10:55:28 AM
just random information picked up on wikipedia: The Yazidis believe in God as creator of the world, which he has placed under the care of seven "holy beings" or angels, the "chief" (archangel) of whom is Melek Taus, the "Peacock Angel." The Peacock Angel, as world-ruler, causes both good and bad to befall individuals, and this ambivalent character is reflected in myths of his own temporary fall from God's favor, before his remorseful tears extinguished the fires of his hellish prison and he was reconciled with God. This myth builds on Sufi mystical reflections on the angel Iblis, who proudly refused to violate monotheism by worshipping Adam and Eve at God's express command.[18] Because of this connection to the Sufi Iblis tradition, some followers of other monotheistic religions of the region equate the Peacock Angel with their own unredeemed evil spirit Satan,[19][20] which has incited centuries of persecution of the Yazidis as "devil worshippers." Persecution of Yazidis has continued in their home communities within the borders of modern Iraq, under both Saddam Hussein and fundamentalist Sunni Muslim revolutionaries.[21] In August 2014 the Yazidi were targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, in its campaign to "purify" Iraq and neighboring countries of non-Islamic influences.[22]