Middle East

Hundreds of Iraqi Yazidis flee to Turkey: Ankara

An Iraqi Yazidi family that fled the violence in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, sit at at a school where they are taking shelter in the Kurdish city of Dohuk in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region August 5, 2014. (AFP Photo/Safin Hamed)

ANKARA: Hundreds of people from Iraq's Yazidi community have fled to Turkey after jihadists took over large swath of territory in northern Iraq, Turkish officials said Thursday.

An attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group at the weekend sparked a mass exodus from the northern part of Iraq including the town of Sinjar, where most of the population is made up of the Yazidi minority.

A Turkish foreign ministry official described the flight as a "human tragedy."

"It is not possible for Turkey to remain indifferent to this. We will fulfil our responsibility," the official told AFP.

Another government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said hundreds of Yazidis had entered Turkey since Wednesday.

"They have been accommodated by the local authorities in a housing complex for earthquake victims in the town of Silopi near the Iraqi border," the official told AFP.

The Yazidi are a closed community that follows an ancient faith rooted in Zoroastrianism and are referred to by jihadists as "devil worshippers."





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