U.N.: jihadist takeover of Iraq town sparks ‘humanitarian tragedy’
A U.N. statement said some reports put the number of people forced to flee by the ISIS takeover at 200,000
The capture of the Iraqi town of Sinjar by jihadist fighters has sent up to 200,000 people into flight and sparked a “humanitarian tragedy” amid fears for their lives, the United Nations said Sunday.
“A humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Sinjar,” the top U.N. envoy in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a statement after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group captured the northern town, which lies near the Syrian border and was already home to thousands of previously displaced families.
The U.N. statement said some reports put the number of people forced to flee by the ISIS takeover at 200,000.
“The United Nations has grave concerns for the physical safety of these civilians,” the statement said.
It said it was particularly alarmed by the fate of those civilians who fled in the Jabal Sinjar mountains and could be trapped in an area completely surrounded by jihadist fighters.
“The humanitarian situation of these civilians is reported as dire, and they are in urgent need of basic items including food, water and medicine,” the statement said.
Sinjar was controlled by Kurdish troops but they withdrew on Sunday, the second consecutive day of losses for the peshmerga, who also relinquished the town of Zumar and two nearby oilfields on Saturday.
Sinjar is a historical home for the Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority which follows a pre-Islamic faith derived in part from Zoroastrianism. They have been targeted by the jihadists, who call them devil worshippers.
Mladenov urged authorities of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq and the federal government in Baghdad to cooperate fully in addressing the crisis.
Syrian man suspected of terrorist links arrested in Brussels' airportThe man was arrested after items in his possession raised suspicion of links to terrorist group in Syria Middle East
ISIS takes over Iraq’s biggest damThe Islamic insurgents warned residents in nearby villages along the border with Syria to leave their homes Middle East
Lebanese army kills 11 militants near Syria borderThe killing of the Islamist militants came after the gunmen seized a police station in the Lebanese border town Arsal Middle East
Syria troops kill over 50 jihadists near LebanonThe Islamist jihadists clashed with troops loyal to Syria’s regime and Hezbollah throughout Friday night till the morning Middle East
NGO: ISIS withdraws from Syria villagesFighting between members of the Shaitat Sunni tribe and jihadists began on Wednesday Middle East
Syria defector in Washington shows torture photosThe defector known only as Caesar described seeing corpses with deep wounds and burns, some of which had had their eyes carved out Middle East