Thousands flee to Turkish border as IS advances

Diyarbakir - Thousands of Iraqis, most of them ethnic minority Yazidis, have fled to the Turkish border to escape an advance by Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq, Turkish officials said on Thursday.

Around 150 Yazidis were placed in state residences in Turkey's southeastern Sirnak province and around the nearby city of Batman after crossing the border at the Habur frontier gate late on Wednesday, the officials said.

"Those who have passports crossed the border, but thousands of people who don't are waiting at the other side," said Seyfettin Aydemir, mayor of Sirnak's Silopi district.

"We're in talks with regional lawmakers about the situation," he said.

The Islamic State regards the Yazidis, who are followers of an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism and part of Iraq's Kurdish minority, as "devil-worshippers".

Some of the many thousands of Yazidis trapped by Islamic State fighters on Sinjar mountain in northeast Iraq have been rescued in the past 24 hours, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Thursday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey was providing intensive humanitarian aid to Iraq.

"Two days ago, a large aid package prepared by [Turkey's disaster management agency] AFAD was thrown from Iraqi helicopters to Sinjar mountains from the air," Davutoglu told LTV news channel on Thursday.

"A mood that suggests Turkey excludes Yazidis is being created, but the truth is to the contrary."

Islamic State militants extended their gains in northern Iraq on Thursday, seizing more towns and strengthening their presence near the Kurdish region in an offensive that has alarmed Baghdad and regional powers.

Turkey, already housing more than a million refugees from the war in neighbouring Syria, is building a refugee camp in northern Iraq to try to provide aid on the Iraqi side of the border.

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The General 2014/08/07 09:10:03 PM
Why is every bloody organization in this country who protested against Israel not protesting against these human rights abuses being committed by these terrorists isis???????? HYPOCRITES!
forest gump 2014/08/07 09:42:56 PM
if not protesting against terrorism is all that is needed to qualify one as a supporter of terrorism then i guess most if not all of the people who comment here on n24 regularly against terrorist havent taken part in a march. doesnt that make everybody hypocrites? i haven't not that i wouldn't. pretty sure my boss wouldnt be impressed with me being a representive of his company taking part in these marches.. pretty sure he cant do me anything but id rather just stay out of trouble
Alan Yates 2014/08/07 09:43:30 PM
Not a day goes by (for 1400 years now) when there is not a new report of the acts of killing and mayhem committed by people flying a black flag that says "there is no God other than Allah"...Why are western based Muslims and their leftist enablers not rioting in the streets of Western capitals about the >200 000 humans killed in Syria and Iraq since the misnamed "Arab Spring"? seems only when non Muslims stand up to Muslims with cartoons and Videos that Muslims get agitated enough to riot; or when Jews won't roll over and accept Dhimmitude, and dare to shoot back at Muslims firing rockets from hospitals, schools and churches full of women and children.
Marc Ross 2014/08/08 09:28:49 AM
I will be joining the MJC in Cape Town as they march against the aggression of IS and the persecution of Christians, Jews and Kurds in the Middle East. Ooops sorry the MJC still haven't made a statement, or condemned anything or declared their outrage. But I'm sure they will march and I will join them.
jaygee 2014/08/08 01:34:19 PM
I dont stand up for because of their religion, its all about their pain and suffering. You should try it, it keeps the conscience clear.