An internally displaced Yazidi who fled from an Iraqi town after advances by Islamic militants takes shelter at a school in Dahuk, 260 miles (420 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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Today, the widow is one of tens of thousands of members of Iraq's Yadizi religious minority, who after fleeing the town of Sinjar last month, are now living in squalor in unsanitary shelters and camps, with little food or water and no medicine – uncertain what their future holds.The Kurdish military says it is now on a push toward Sinjar, located in the desert of northwestern Iraq near the Syrian border, in an assault aimed at retaking the town from the extremists. The past week, Kurdish fighters retook three towns just north of Sinjar – Mahmoudiyah, the Rabia border crossing and the town of Zumar – with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes. The Yazidis now living in the Kurdish city of Dohuk are cautiously optimistic – wary after having already lost so much, but hopeful to return home and pick up the pieces. The United Nations estimates that more than 1.8 million Iraqis were displaced this year as the militant group violently swept across western and northern Iraq.Tens of thousands of Sinjar residents quickly fled into the nearby mountain range. At the Badlis School, the families all asked eagerly for news about the Kurdish forces' offensive toward Sinjar. Their hopes for its success were tempered.
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