Refugee Samo Ilyas Ali has nine children to feed but he can’t focus on the future because the sounds of women and children crying out for help while being buried alive by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq often consume his mind.
Tens of thousand of Yazidis fled their ancient homeland of Sinjar and other villages to escape a dramatic push by the Sunni militants who regard the ethnic minority as devil worshippers who must embrace their radical version of Islam or die.
The refugees sit idle in camps in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.
Traumatized by Islamic State militants notorious for beheadings and mass executions, they have simply given up on Iraq and want to go as far away as possible; to countries like Germany, worlds away from their mysterious customs.
U.S. air strikes against Islamic State positions and vows by Kurdish commanders to recapture Yazidi villages provided no reassurances.
t’s easy to see why.
Ten days ago, Ali and his fellow villagers were suddenly surrounded by Islamic State militants with machine guns at night. They had long beards. Some had face masks and Arabic writing on the sides of their heads.
Absent from the scene were Kurdish peshmerga, or ‘those who confront death’, fighters who had held parts of the north and were seen as the only force that could stand up to Islamic State after thousands of U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers fled their advance, leaving them with heavy weapons including tanks
Suddenly the men began digging ditches – soon to become mass graves.
‘We did not understand. Then they started to put people in those holes, those people were alive,’ said former grocery shop owner Ali, 46, pausing to weep.
If after reading this you don’t want these animals wiped from the face of the Earth you need to reassess your humanity:
Some Yazidis, like Hassan, 22, a student, shake their heads in disbelief when recalling how only foreign Kurdish fighters from Turkey or Syria extended a lifeline in the face of Islamic State.
‘They tied the hands of one woman to the back of a car and her legs to another car and they split her into two,’ he said beside makeshift tents as women cried.
‘Have you seen anything like this? This is all because she is not Muslim and did not want to be converted. We barely made it.’