WHO ARE THE YAZIDIS?
The 6,000-YEAR-OLD RELIGION HAS FEWER THAN A
MILLION FOLLOWERS IN EXTREME POVERTY.
There are about 700,000 Yazidis in the
world, living chiefly in northern Iraq and
on Mount Sinjar.
They are ethnically Kurdish but adhere to
a religion founded some 6,000 years ago.
The religion, while it predates Christianity
and Islam, incorporates elements of each,
as well as Zoroastrianism, an ancient
belief founded by an Iranian philosopher
in around 6BC.
U.S. troops made the second air drop this morning with 28,000
meals and almost 7,000 litres of water to the Sinjar Mountains
in northern Iraq, a barren range which has become home to tens
of thousands of Yazidis.
Along with Christians, the members of an ancient religion are
persecuted by the radical Islamists who have swept through
Iraq because they claim they are heretics.
Several tons of blankets and drinking water were loaded onto an RAF
Hercules C130 cargo plane. Two of the planes left for Iraq today.
Britain has declared another £8million in aid to the 500,000
refugees in Iraq who have been forced from their homes.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: 'We can expect a continuing
drumbeat of airdrop operations working in co-ordination with the U.S.'
Yazidi children have taken to sheltering in the holy valley of Lalish, while
others trapped in the Sinjar Mountains were flown renewed supplies by the
Left, a Yazidi woman and a young baby shelter in Lalish, the religion's holy
valley in northern Iraq. Right: A Yazidi girl who has escaped to Turkey.
Surrounded by Islamic extremists in northern Iraq, thousands of traditional
Yazidi people have taken to sheltering in their holy valley of Lalish.
Islamic State fighters have continued their relentless sweep through Iraq,
causing refugees to flee and carrying out brutal executions on their enemies.
Today the U.S. made a second air drop with 28,000 meals and almost
7,000 litres of water as Britain sends supplies for 75,000 people.
The UN says more than 500,000 people have been
displaced by Islamists' campaign of terror.
The valley of Lalish is where one of the most important figures in the
Yazidi faith is buried. It has become a place of shelter but may not
remain so for long.
This image released today by the U.S. Department of Defense shows pallets
of bottled water loaded and ready for yesterday's first humanitarian air drop.
Yazidi people who have fled Iraq to Turkey. Thousands of refugees
have been pouring across the border as the violence spreads.
A Yazidi woman who has made it to Turkey. Islamic State have captured
a string of towns and Iraq's largest hydroelectric dam in recent weeks.
Kurdish fighters say they are willing to fight to the death to defend
their homeland in northern Iraq from the Islamic State fighters.
Kurdish peshmerga fighters load a missile launcher yesterday during clashes
with the army groups led by Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq.
The Kurdish fighters are seen as the last line of defence because they
are poorly-resourced to deal with the invading horde of militants.
While some have escaped the country, other Yazidis - this man included -
are forced to consider their options in their holy valley of Lalish.