News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
At least three thousand people have been killed in massacres committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) since it began its attack on the Sinjar (Kurdish: Şengal) region on August 3rd according to a report from ANF. Five thousand people are also reported to been kidnapped. ISIS fighters have been targeting Yezidis, a local religious minority, as well as Shia and Christian populations in the area.
The attacks initiated a major humanitarian crisis as hundreds of thousands of refugees fled ahead of the ISIS advance. Many fled into the arid mountains north of Sinjar without access to food, water and shelter and were quickly surrounded below by ISIS fighters.
In response to the crisis YPG forces based in Rojava crossed the border into Northern Kurdistan at Rabia, 100 km of Sinjar, and began pushing South in an attempt to open a security corridor for the refugees trapped in the mountains immediately north of Sinjar. The following day, August 4th, YPG forces succeeded in reaching the Sinjar mountains and began the evacuation of tens of thousands of refugees toward Rojava.
However conditions remained extremely desperate and YPG fighters were confronted with the task of protecting and aiding tens of thousands of refugees while simultaneously combating the ISIS offensive. Around three hundred young and elderly are reported to have died from hunger and thirst as they fled from ISSI and there are fears that this number may raise.
ISIS is also reported to be carrying out massacres against religious minorities and any other population they view as hostile to their goals. The group has openly called for the death of Yezidis and have shared many photos and videos documenting their atrocities on their own media outlets.
At least three thousand are reported to have been killed in these massacres, including many women and children, while five thousand are reported to have been kidnapped. At least some of them are thought to have been transported to the town of Badoş near Mosul.
The population of Sinjar and the surrounding villages of Til Ezêr, Dilverek, Wardiyê, Siba Şêx Xidir, Trambosî, Kızılkent, Til Xesep, Til Benat, Solak, Eyn Fethî, Sinûnê, Xane Sor, Dugirê, Guhbel, Zorava, Herdan, Gir Şebek, Bihola, Barayê and others has a total population of five hundred thousand. Around three hundred thousand of these fled as ISIS advanced, with thousands still caught on the road and at risk of further violence.
Kurdish forces are continuing to battle ISIS in the region. On August 4th, the day after the attacks began, the Sinjar Defense Units (SDU) were formed with the support of the YPG and HPG. Hundreds of young Yezidi youth have joined the SDU in the last week and together with the YPG and HPG have retaken numerous villages and killed scores of ISIS fighters. At least 200 youth from Suleymaniye also joined the resistance.