Iraq crisis: Yazidi are not safe in Iraq, Europe must take them in, Iraqi diplomat warns

Leader’s son wants asylum for those caught in conflict as Britain agrees to send in Chinook helicopters

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The Independent Online

Britain needs to act “now” and provide small arms and military support to help the Yazidi people in northern Iraq escape a “genocide”, warns a leading figure in the Yazidi community in Britain.

Breen Tahseen, an Iraqi diplomat based in Manchester whose father, Prince Tahseen Saeed Bek, is the leader of the Yazidi people, told The Independent: “We want the British Government to give small arms to the Yazidian people and the Peshmerga so that they can defend themselves.”

News of numerous atrocities committed by jihadists fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), in the past week, including reports of people being buried alive, has been “terrifying,” said Mr Tahseen, who was posted to Britain more than three years ago.

“You can’t sleep any time,” he said.

The 33-year-old, who is married with a son, told of his fears for thousands of families in several villages south of Sinjar City, Iraq, where “about 10,000” people face slaughter tomorrow if jihadists carry out their threat to kill those who refuse to convert to Islam. “People were told if you don’t change the religion they kill everybody,” he said.

And he appealed for more aid to be delivered to the tens of thousands of Yazidi people who have fled from Isis and taken refuge on Mount Sinjar.

Mr Tahseen added: “We ask all European countries to give residency to the people – they aren’t safe in Iraq.”

He described some of the reports he has personally received in the past few days. “I know one woman, her child died on the mountain without food or water.” In another case, he was told of a woman captured by jihadists who was gang-raped, then "in the mountains she killed herself. Her sister called me and told me that”.

Tonight Britain promised to send a small number of Chinook helicopters to the region for humanitarian relief options.

The situation is worsening, according to Mr Tahseen. He said: “Now it’s genocide; up to now more than a thousand people have been killed, every day you don’t arrive there 500 die or are killed or taken. People tell us they have said to Isis ‘kill me’ but don’t take my daughter, sister or my family.”

And hundreds of women and girls recently captured by Isis, who had been kept at Badoush prison in Mosul, are understood to have been moved to a school in Tal Afar, he said.

His people need more than just “food and water” to be saved. Aid alone “is not enough.” As well as military intervention, he wants Britain and other countries to take in refugees.


The RAF was able to deliver "essential supplies" over Mount Sinjar tonight to assist the Yazidis, the Department for International Development (DfID) announced. This comes after Downing Street confirmed on Monday that the RAF will send "a small number" of Tornado jets to the region to help the humanitarian effort.

An Iraqi helicopter delivering aid to displaced Yazidis on the Sinjar mountain range crashed today, killing the pilot and injuring others on board.