Tens of thousands from Iraq’s minority Yazidi community have fled their homes after Sunni militants captured their towns in the latest offensive to expand the territory of their self-styled caliphate.
As Kurdish fighters struggled to hold back the onslaught of the Islamic State militants on Iraq’s north, some 40,000 Yazidis fled the northern towns of Sinjar and Zumar, said Jawhar Ali Begg, a spokesman for the community.
“Thousands of Yazidi people have been killed,” he said. The militant group gave the Yazidis, who follow an ancient religion with links to Zoroastrianism, an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death, Mr. Begg added.
The group drove ethnic and religious minorities out of Mosul, and attacked mosques and shrines, claiming they contradicted strict Islamic teachings.