Iraq crisis: Islamic militants 'buried alive Yazidi women and children in attack that killed 500'

The US military has begun intervening with air strikes in what many have described as an ongoing genocide in northern Iraq

Militants in north-western Iraq have buried women and children alive during their offensive against the Yazidi ethnic minority, according to Iraq’s minister for human rights.

The bodies were reportedly found in a mass grave in the wake of Isis’s push towards the Sinjar mountain range, where tens of thousands of Kurdish-speaking refugees have been trapped to the point of starvation.

Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said his government had evidence that 500 Yazidi civilians had been killed so far, and that some of the victims had been buried alive. A further 300 Yazidi women have been kidnapped as slaves, he added.

The Isis offensive against the Yazidi people has been described as “genocide in [both] the literal and legalistic sense”, and the UN estimates that at least 56 children have died of dehydration alone in the Sinjar mountain camps.

The increasingly horrific nature of Isis’s campaign in northern Iraq has now provoked the US to take action, with Barack Obama saying yesterday that action was need to prevent more deaths and provide humanitarian aid.

Read more:
American intervention against Isis boosts Kurdish morale
Iraq crisis - the case for intervention
Starving, desperate, but safe from Isis on Mount Sinjar

US Central Command said that over the course of Saturday it carried out four air strikes from its planes and drones over Iraq, targeting the Isis militants as they fired indiscriminately upon civilians.

Military officials said they destroyed armoured carriers and a truck, in what was the third round of air strikes since they were authorised by the President on Thursday.

And while Mr Obama admitted the US military cannot bring peace to Iraq, he said the air strikes were “part of a long-term project” that will continue until Iraq can form a government capable of ensuring the security of its borders.

Britain has now also made its first airdrop of humanitarian aid to the refugees in the Sinjar mountains, performed by an RAF transport aircraft.

Justine Greening, the international development secretary, said: “The world has been shocked by the plight of the Yazidi community. They face appalling conditions, cut off on Mount Sinjar after fleeing persecution by [Isis] extremists.”

David Cameron and Mr Obama discussed the airdrops in a phone call yesterday, but agreed that a “long-term solution” would be needed to quell the militant advance.

A refugee Yazidi family A refugee Yazidi family A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister welcomed the US efforts and made clear that we are keen to work with the Americans on the humanitarian effort.

“They agreed that the immediate priority is to get vital supplies to those trapped on Mount Sinjar and the UK will join the US in delivering aid drops.

“Both leaders also agreed that aid drops are not a long term solution, and that a way must be found to get these people to safety and to avert a genocide.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Testing Manager

£30000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

£17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Consultant - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ope...

Recruitment Genius: Pricing & Purchasing Analyst

£15000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest independent ...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash