Yazidis fleeing Islamic State settled in homes in southeastern Turkey

Yazidis fleeing Islamic State settled in homes in southeastern Turkey

Yazidis fleeing Islamic State settled in homes in southeastern Turkey

Displaced Iraqis from the northern town of Sinjar head towards the autonomous Kurdistan region on August 4, 2014, as they seek refuge after Islamic State (IS) Sunni militants took control of their hometown. AFP Photo

Yazidis fleeing Iraq following an offensive by Islamic State (IS) militants have been settled in homes in the town of Silopi in the southeastern province of Şırnak, Culture Minister Ömer Çelik has said from Twitter on Aug. 7.

Another government official who spoke to the AFP said hundreds of Yazidis had entered Turkey since Aug. 6.

 "600 to 800 Yazidis have made their own way to Turkey since Wednesday," he said on condition of anonymity. "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 said.

Tens of thousands of Yazidi families, as well as Turkmens living in Iraq’s Sinjar district bordering Syria are desperately trying to escape the militants amid reports of massacres.

Speaking to the AFP, 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 said.

Feyyan Dahil, a Yazidi-origin lawmaker told the Iraqi Parliament on Aug. 6 that at least 500 people have been killed and 500 women were abducted as concubines.

Turkey is also gearing up humanitarian aid to Turkmens, setting up a new refugee camp for 20,000 Iraqi Turkmens near the northern Iraqi city of Duhok.

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said on Aug. 6 initials plans were to set a refugee camp in Sinjar – inhabited by the Yazidi minority – but it was changed due to security reasons.

The Union of Chamber and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Aug. 6 sent 25 humanitarian aid trucks for both people in the Gaza Strip and Iraqi Turkmens in neighboring Iraq, in coordination with Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Relief Agency (AFAD).

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