SOME COMMENTS AND WARNINGS
I should first begin to cite, that the following articles and especially the accompanying images may be distressing to some and probably inappropriate to those who are underage to read or observe. The graphic and violent nature of the images are regrettably true, and indicative of the life which Middle Eastern Christians, and other minorities, have had to live with during this present conflict and for many centuries. I especially would like to highlight this reality to our readers and users from America, Western Europe and Australia, who are usually kept in the dark about the effects of foreign policies that their governments adopt and apply, both deliberately and deceitfully, and discouraging the proper media coverage to scrutinise them. (And I magnify my emphasis on this point, particularly to Evangelical, Charismatic, Protestant, Anglican/Episcopalian and Roman Catholic Christians, to help them recognise that they are being deceived and kept in the dark about these issues pertaining to Middle Eastern Christians, and to desist from sending more missionaries to try and convert the native Christians, and actually send aid to them instead with no strings attached!)
What do I mean by “foreign policies” you may ask? Well, if I draw the readers attention to the fact that in recent times, the world has come to learn of the lie and deceit regarding the premise for invasion in Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the more recent efforts to topple President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria. It has been exposed that both Israel’s Mossad (contrary to the interests of Israeli citizens) and America have been arming, training and financing groups like Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and the obscure “ISIS” in Syria. Yet the interesting thing is, by all definitions, if we are to accept the story about “September 11”, why is America, Israel or their Western European and Gulf Arab allies supporting such groups which apparently are their sworn enemies?
Surely these very “terrorists” are the cause for the enactment of harsh laws in these various countries for the indefinite detainment or imprisonment of people and the curbing of civil liberties so as to ensure “national security”. And yet, these are the same countries who are financing, arming and training these very groups….so what is the logic in this? Is there sinister intent here, is the real issue about ensuring greater control over one’s own citizens and not about capturing terrorists?
The only conclusion that any sensible person can deduce, is that these groups are a false opposition to help justify these same nations to intervene wherever they want and interfere in the personal lives and rights of private citizens. And we can see that many of these conflicts seem to bear common traits from Ukraine, Kossovo, Bosnia, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq to name a few.
Yet we observe the example of Russia’s current demonisation within global media, while we see in various quarters, the West seeking to provoke a conflict or war with Russia, while numerous cover-ups are made regarding what is transpiring in the Ukraine such as the coordinating of the uprisings in Kiev that toppled the legitimate Yanukovich government, the arrangements over financial matters or the maidan pipeline deals, and more recently, the resignation of the usurper government that encouraged extremist right wing and fascist groups to initiate the crisis. Then there is the mysterious shooting down of the Malaysia airline flight from Amsterdam in the eastern Ukraine, followed by immediate accusations that asserted pro-Russian Ukrainian militants were responsible.
I sense that the quick knee-jerk reactions by America and her allies, indicate something suspect as was the case in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and actually proven. And I am certain that with time, careful investigation and questions, what triggered the Ukrainian Crisis and the downing of the Malaysian jet will reveal something opposite to what we are presently being told in the media. And as Washington insiders seem to indicate, this will be the case. This is not to say that the Russians are any better as a world power than the Americans, but it is the Russians who are reacting in response to an actual threat to their safety and integrity as NATO and the EU has expanded and set up missile bases around their borders, and waged economic war against them by promoting alternate suppliers of gas and oil. But these things need to time to come to the fore.
With specific regards to Iraq and the ISIS phenomenon that has wreaked such evil, it is interesting to note, that even UN reports indicate that ISIS is a group that was part of the so-called Free Syrian Opposition forces (FSA) that were geared towards the overthrow of President Assad of Syria. And the same report highlighted, that they were financed, trained and armed by America and her various allies. The irony in all this, was that President Assad was not seriously represented, but mocked by the Western global media when he underlined the fact that the conflict could easily end and move towards peaceful dialogue and resolution, if and when America and her allies stopped supporting the FSA. Journalists and reporters who went to Syria and made an effort to actually investigate, found that what Mr Assad said was actually true, whereby they witnessed weapons smuggled from Turkey, foreigners making up the majority of ranks of the FSA, and sworn enemies of President Assad actually joining the Syrian national army to fight alongside pro-Assad forces.
And now we have seen ISIS rapidly rise from obscurity from the ranks of the FSA to sweep across great swathes of northern Iraq and eastern Syria with some of the best weapons available for warfare, with superior training to surrounding ground forces and disciplined military coordination to carry out successful operations; seizing amongst their many prizes, the second largest Iraqi city of Mosul which has a considerable industrial base and is the gateway to the northern Iraqi gas and oilfields. It also noteworthy to cite, that the geographical area which they currently occupy, is the region by which American-Israeli allies, Saudi Arabia, the various Gulf states and Turkey sought to construct oil and gas pipelines that would channel both resources between Arabia and Europe via Turkey. This project was denied by the Assad regime and was contrary to Iraqi national interests as the two countries were investigating proposals for joint ventures in this field, as well as links with the nations of the Caucuses and Iran.
Furthermore, recent reports have been filtering out of Iraq about the extensive presence of foreigners, particularly Europeans and Gulf Arabs serving in the ranks of ISIS who are using Israeli made weaponry, which begs many questions that at present remain unanswered. And in light of the genocides perpetrated against Christians and Yezidis along with Muslims, and the desecration and defilement of private property and religious-cultural sites such as the mosque of the Prophet Jonah, one can only discern that these offences have the express purpose of inflaming public opinion in favour for intervention.
Certainly the Israeli public should be asking serious questions of their leaders as to why groups like ISIS have been supported, trained and financed by their national agencies like Mossad, just as was the case with HAMAS back in the 1980s and whom are currently being bombed in Gaza (we often question whether the Gazans actually elected Hamas or was it another Mossad tactic?!). Needless to say, such groups like ISIS or Hamas are a threat to Israeli security and the interests and safety of every Israeli citizen. Yet are these policies aimed at ensuring that Israelis are forced to commit themselves to a permanent state of war or to endorse policies which are not in their personal or national interests? The same can be said of America and the various European countries that support groups like ISIS.
What we can deduce from recent history and the facts available to us, is simply that public opinion in America, Western European nations, Australia, Canada or Israel regarding the presence of military forces there were mixed. There was certainly immense public opposition in these various nations for the maintenance of a military presence in Iraq, but of course if there is a grave threat to humanity, then these objections could be overridden and the army sent in again. Naturally what is overlooked by public opinion is that it was the policy of the aforementioned nations who had sponsored, financed, armed or trained terrorists like ISIS who committed the atrocities which have been cited in countless reports and witness testimonies.
So where does that leave us, or more accurately, those who have suffered the atrocities of the Western sponsored ISIS?
Simply that there is a moral obligation to provide aid and shelter to the victims who are on the ground, the need to provide refuge and even grant citizenship to these displaced people, because it was the policies of our governments that put them in that situation to begin with. Furthermore, the sponsoring and financing of jihadist groups like ISIS must cease and that the crises in Syria, Libya, Ukraine or Iraq must also come to an end and have a peaceful solution, which re-emphasises again the need to stop supporting parasites like ISIS.
But more importantly, there is a greater need today for people particularly in places like America, Britain, France, Germany and Israel, to scrutinise with greater rigour and hold to account their leaders, governmental agencies as well as the media to the actions that they take, because today it is northern Iraq and eastern Syria, tomorrow it may well be our own homes. Will those same guns be used by our authorities against us? Do our authorities listen to us or act unilaterally against our interests as citizens?These are the questions we need to ask and to act upon. Many will disagree with what I am citing here, but I seek to present an alternate view to the usual propaganda that the mainstream media always wishes to present to us in order to elicit a specific response or reaction and not allow us to think for ourselves.
ISLAMIC MILITANTS FORCE CHRISTIAN MAN TO DENY JESUS CHRIST, THEN BEHEAD HIM
Christians continue to be persecuted by Islamic militants in Syria, as reports recently surfaced that a Christian man had his head brutally hacked off after being forced to deny his faith and salute Mohammed as “the messenger of God”. The incident was videotaped and released to the media along with a warning directed to “everyone like him”. In the video, which was posted to YouTube with translated captions, the man is surrounded Islamist extremists wearing masks. He is heard helplessly reciting, “There is no God but God and I testify that Mohammed is the messenger of God.” One of the militants is heard ordering the group, “No one will shoot him now, do you understand? He will not be killed by shooting because it is merciful for him.” “He will be beheaded because he is Kaffir, non-Muslim, sided [with] the government and was not praying at all. Everyone like him will have the same end, beheading,” said the militant. In a gruesome manner, a militant holding a machete then grabs the man by the hair and slowly begins sawing his head from his body as the group chants, “Allahu Akbar…there is no God but God.”
According to the 2014 report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Syria is among several countries where being a Christians are severely persecuted by Muslims. “Extremist groups and terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida and ISIL, also are perpetrating egregious religious freedom violations. They espouse violence and the creation of an Islamic state with no space for diversity, and have carried out religiously-motivated attacks and massacres against Alwaite, Shi’a, and Christian civilians,” explained the group. “NGO’s report that several different anti-regime opposition groups have established Shari’ah courts in areas they control.
Recently ISIL, a terrorist organization not aligned with the internationally-recognized opposition, announced that the approximately 3,000 Christians in Raqqa province must either face death, convert to Islam, or be treated as dhimmis (non-Muslim citizens of an Islamic state) who must pay a tax for their ‘protection’ and obey serious restrictions on their religious practices,” it continued. Hundreds of Christians have been forced to flee the country as Islamic militants continue to rape, torture and kill those who profess Christ. Global Research, a center for research on globalization, reports: “The Christian communities of Syria, which constitute at least 10% of the Syrian population, have been systematically targeted; their churches have been attached and desecrated; their priests, monks, and nuns murdered; and generally discriminated against by the anti-government forces that the US, UK, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and their allies support. The objectives of establishing this exodus are reflected by the anti-government chants: “Alawites to the ground and Christians to Lebanon!” What this chant means is that Syria is no longer a place where either Alawis or Christians can live.”
IRAQI CHRISTIANS FORCED TO FLEE MOSUL MID ISIS’ THREATS TO CONVERT OR DIE
Iraqi Christians who fled the violence in the northern city of Mosul pray at a church in the village of Qaraqosh on July 19. (AP)
A mere several years ago, over 60,000 Christians resided in the Iraqi city of Mosul, freely practicing their religion among their Muslim neighbors. Today, churches in Mosul are eerily silent, as thousands of believers have fled the city after Muslim extremists group ISIS ordered all Christians to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face execution. They later revoked the tax as an option. “It is no longer possible for Christians to live in Iraq,” said the wife of Raad Ghanem, one of 250 Christians who fled to Mar Mattai Monastery which sits atop a mountain 12 miles outside Mosul, according to the Associated Press. Ghanem’s wife, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said that after going to work one day at the hospital where she had worked for 30 years, she was told to never come back. “They told me I couldn’t work there because I am Christian,” she said. “I told them that I am from Mosul, that this is my home.”
While an estimated 2 million Christians called Iraq home in the 1990s, church leaders say that figure plunged to around 200,000 by last year. The sudden rise of ISIS has sent many other Christians fleeing in terror. Last week, to assert their hatred of Christians, ISIS blew up a tomb believed to be the burial place of the biblical prophet Jonah, who survived in a whale’s belly. Other refugees recounted their horrifying experiences as well. “The houses of Christians were specially marked with the Arabic letter “N,” meaning Christian,” said Nadia Nafik Ishaq, a woman with a broken leg who is also residing at the monastery. “It was written that they were the property of the Islamic State. After that, all the properties were robbed. All our things were taken. What is the solution? How long will we have to be here?” Ishaq said. “When we left in the middle of the night, we were stripped of everything. Money, wallets, jewelry, ID, passports, watches, everything,” Raad Ghanem said.
“At the Daesh checkpoint on the way out of the city, my wife was even stripped of her earrings. They took everything of value we had.” “They changed our church into a mosque, ruined historic museums and destroyed a monastery and manuscripts that were 1,000 years old. Iraq is gone. Iraq is finished. We’re finished. It’s impossible for us to go back,” he said. In a brutal manner, ISIS also forced those with disabilities to flee the country. “It was illegal for us to leave the house, so we knew it wasn’t going to end well,” said Ikram Hama, who uses a wheelchair.”Luckily a Christian soldier helped us, and we escaped late at night with just the clothes on our back.” “Sick people, disabled people, poor people were all forced to leave. They killed my cousin after they looked at his ID,” she continued. “We have no money and my sister has a disability. There is no doctor here and no hospitals close by. We are in a bad situation. For us, Iraq is over.” Flora Adwa, a young mother of three, said the terrorist group took her to a mosque and tried to convert her to Islam. Because she refused, ISIS ordered her to leave the country under penalty of death. “We gave them all our money, but then they took our car and our house,” she explained. “They told us that with the money we gave them we could go anywhere but Mosul. We cannot return. We are finished. What is our future?”
CHALDEAN CHRISTIAN LEADER: ISIS ‘SYSTEMATICALLY BEHEADING’ CHILDREN IN IRAQ
A prominent Christian leader of the Chaldean community unveiled the “systematic beheading of children” and other horrendous crimes committed by ISIS. He said that the Sunni extremists are committing genocide against Christians in Iraq and with the aim to instill the Sharia Law as the law of the land. In the interview with CNN’s Jonathan Mann, Chaldean-American businessman Mark Arabo said that the “world hasn’t seen an evil like this for generations.” “There is a park in Mosul, where [ISIS] they actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick and have them in the park,” he explained.
Speaking from San Diego over Skype, Arabo called for the international community to offer asylum to the more than 300,000 Christians fleeing and living in neighboring cities. At a meeting in the White House last week, he said the Chaldean-American leaders and the political leaders are saying that the world should come together to stop these crimes against humanity and help alleviate the sufferings of the Iraqi people. “The world hasn’t seen this kind of atrocity in generations,” he said. “This is a crime against humanity. This is much broader than a community or a state. This is crime against humanity.
They are doing the most horrendous, the most heart-breaking crimes that you can think of.” When asked about Sunni extremists’ targeting of Christians, Arabo said that around 95 percent of Christians have fled, five percent have converted. Also, the ISIS have marked the death stamps on Christian homes, so whoever returns will get killed. “Christian holocaust is in our midst,” he said. “This should never be happening in 2014.” Just last week, the ISIS bombed a church that was 1,800 years old, and have bombed 6 churches so far. While France is leading the way in offering asylum, Arabo is calling on the US and the United Nations to recognnize that this is a genocide and do more to address this crisis. “This living nightmare is not going away,” he said, “but it is only getting worse.” “The world cannot turn a blind eye.”
Iraqi MP Fiyan Dakhee Faints As She Tearfully Pleas For Help After ISIS Massacre Of Minority
The Huffington Post UK | By Jessica Elgot
For tens of thousands of ethnic minority men, women and children in Iraq, they face a bleak choice – face execution at the hands of ISIS, or starvation in hiding in the mountains.
Thousands from the Yezidi Kurdish minority are now in hiding in the northern mountain ranges, after the men were threatened with beheading and the women into forced prostitution, according to local reports. Yezidis practice a version of the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism, and as a sect they were once deemed ‘devil worshippers’ by Sadaam Hussein’s regime.
ISIS forces this week seized more new territory including many northern Kurdish towns and the predominantly Yezidi town of Sinjar.
Fiyan Dakhee, a Yezidi member of Iraq’s parliament broke down discussing the crisis
One Iraqi-Yezidi member of parliament collapsed after a tearful and feverish speech, urging the government and international forces to help her people
“As we speak there is genocide taking place against the Yezidis. My family is being butchered.” Fiyan Dakhee, a Yezidi member of Iraq’s parliament said in an impassioned speech yesterday, translated by Bloomberg. “‘My family is being butchered.’
‘‘Our women are being used as concubines and sold in the markets. Please save us, Save us.’’
Dakhee said 30,000 families had fled, and had been without food and water for 48 hours, adding that 70 children and 50 elderly Yezidis had already died of thirst and exhaustion in hiding. More than 500 men had already been executed by ISIS she said, her eyes thick with tears. “An entire religion is being exterminated from the face of the earth. Brothers, I appeal to you for the sake of humanity, save us.”
Dakhee’s heartbreaking plea comes as it was reported ISIS militants snatched large numbers of children from Yezidi families in towns they have occupied, according to McClatchy.
“It is a humanitarian tragedy,” Housam Salim, the head of the Solidarity and Brotherhood Yezidi Organization told Bloomberg. “Men were executed in the streets, women were kidnapped and raped. When we are captured, they kill us immediately, and they take our women.”
Families who fled the area are in immediate need of urgent assistance, including up to 25,000 children who are now stranded in mountains surrounding Sinjar and are in dire need of humanitarian aid including drinking water and sanitation services.
UNICEF has appealed for more protection to be given to fleeing families. “Sinjar, a district of Ninewa in northwest Iraq with a population of at least 150,000 children – including many who are internally displaced – was taken over by the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) on Sunday,” the organisation said in a statement.
“Children are particularly vulnerable, and are most affected by the continuing violence, displacement and fighting in Iraq. UNICEF repeats its urgent call for all children in need to be protected and immediately provided with life-saving assistance to prevent further loss of life.
“UNICEF calls all those who have influence to immediately grant children and women free and safe access to areas of refuge and respect the special protection afforded to children under international humanitarian and human rights law.”
Mark Lyall Grant, the British ambassador to the UN Security Council said in a statement: “Widespread or systematic attacks directed against any civilian populations because of their ethnic background, religion or belief may constitute a crime against humanity, for which those responsible must be held accountable.”
CRUCIFIED BY THE CALIPHATE MONSTERS: IRAQ DESCENDS INTO APOCALYPSE AS ISLAMIC STATE FANATICS SEIZE TOWNS AND TELL TERRIFIED YAZIDI ‘BECOME MUSLIMS BY NOON TODAY… OR WE KILL ALL OF YOU’
- Mail on Sunday reporter Ian Birrell gives shocking despatch from Irbil
- Terrified residents see Islamic State (IS) jihadists capturing nearby towns
- Refugees speak of being offered sinister ultimatum by advancing horde
- IS has shocked the world again by capturing new swathes of Iraq
- Came as U.S. stepped in and started bombing IS artillery and convoys
- Meanwhile they surround Yazidi religious minority on barren mountainside
- Some of persecuted sect escaped today by helicopter and escort
By IAN BIRRELL – 10 August 2014
They arrived bristling with heavy weapons and waving black flags from about a dozen Humvees, seized from the Iraqi army and supplied originally by the United States.
When the terrified residents looked out of their windows, they saw that Kosho, their traditional walled village in the mountains of northern Iraq, had been surrounded by jihadists. More than 200 bearded militants had besieged the village.
Then their leader – a local man from Mosul rather than the foreigners who make up more than a third of the ranks of the group now known as Islamic State – offered them a chance to save their lives.
‘He told us that either we become Muslims or they would kill us all,’ said Falah, mayor of the village made up mainly of members of the ancient Yazidi sect. ‘We offered money but they would not accept it.’
The deadline the people of Kosho have to meet is midday today. Since the residents refuse to betray their faith, it is feared an entire village of about 2,500 innocent people might be slaughtered in cold blood.
‘If we did not have families, we would try to escape,’ the stoical Falah told me yesterday. ‘But we have lots of women here and many children, along with all the old men and women of the village. How could we leave them?’
This is thought to be the first time these blood-drenched fanatics – who delight in boasting of their barbarism and posting sickening murder videos on social media – have threatened to wipe out an entire village.
Even by their own chilling standards, re-drawing the Middle East map with a rampage of rape, beheadings and revolting crucifixions, this marks a new low.
It comes at the end of a week during which the fanatics of Islamic State –formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) – shocked the world again by advancing further into Iraq, prompting the US to renew military operations there for the first time since 2011.
In other developments yesterday:
- As U.S. air strikes continued, President Obama warned he will not allow jihadists to carve out a ‘caliphate’ straddling Syria and Iraq;
- Islamic State fanatics kidnapped hundreds of Yazidi women below the age of 35;
- Hundreds of desperate refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar scrambled to board a single helicopter laden with food and water – while 5,000 escaped down a new ‘safe’ route;
- The UK sent two aircraft to help with the relief operation and promised further air-drops;
- IS seized control of the vital Mosul Dam which supplies water and power to millions of Iraqis. There were fears its destruction would unleash a 65ft wave that would overwhelm Mosul and even cause flooding in Baghdad.
The Islamic State militants have already imposed a medieval-style Islamic caliphate on a slice of Iraq and Syria the size of Britain after seizing Mosul, Iraq’s second biggest city, in June.
Now, having captured first the strategic city of Sinjar, then a string of other towns and the country’s largest hydroelectric dam, they are just 25 miles from Irbil.
This thriving city filled with Western oil firms is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, the solitary success story following the disastrous US-led invasion of 2003.
As US jets started bombing again to protect Irbil, I found its churches, construction sites and parks packed with thousands of Christians and Yazidis fleeing the feared Islamists.
Thousands more are trapped in searing heat on parched mountains to the west. The latest advance began a week ago when shots were heard in Sinjar late at night.
Four hours later, the feared Kurdish peshmerga forces retreated, much to everyone’s surprise – followed by 150,000 residents fleeing for their lives.
Sinjar is an historic centre of the Yazidis, one of the world’s oldest religions. Followers are seen as devil-worshippers by Islamic State because of their unique beliefs.
About five Yazidi and 40 Shia Muslim families were last night stuck in the city after failing to get out in time, hiding in fear from the bloodthirsty militants in their own homes.
I spoke to one Yazidi woman, living largely in one back room with her 60-year-old mother, two sisters and one brother eking out dwindling supplies of bread, rice and water while keeping lights turned off to avoid attention.
Her hushed voice quivering, she told me of hearing frequent gunshots and seeing Islamic State vehicles patrolling the streets outside. ‘We are just sitting and trying not to move too much,’ she said. ‘We feel so scared.
We do not know what to do. We cannot fight them and if we leave the house we will be killed or kidnapped. Afterwards, her despairing cousin, an engineer in his mid-twenties, told me in flawless English that their family felt helpless but could not mount an escape bid.
A respected local leader told me how Islamic State turned up at two Yazidi villages last week, telling residents they would be left alone if they surrendered all their weapons.
At the first village of Qana, the militia then killed 32 men before taking away the women. At Hezan, the second one, all the women were reportedly stripped naked before about 70 men were shot dead.
One terrified woman in her sixties jumped off the third-storey roof of her home, preferring suicide to seizure. Another, a newly-married woman aged 26, is said to have stabbed herself to death. It is impossible to verify such stories. But alarmingly, there are growing claims from a multitude of sources that Islamic State is kidnapping ‘infidel’ women for sexual slavery.
An official for Amnesty International who has spent the past few days with refugees confirmed that both men and women were being kidnapped by the militants: ‘People fear the women are being raped and sold into slavery but we just do not know the truth yet.’
The rapid advance of the jihadists combined with the sudden fragility of the previously-feared Kurdish peshmerga has led to massive movements of frightened people.
One army officer told of a battle last week in which his two Kurdish battalions lost 100 men compared with just 30 jihadists killed.
‘Everything they have is American – it is all the latest equipment with the big guns, the Humvees,’ said the Kurdish soldier, highlighting the failure of America’s $2 trillion attempt at state-building since its botched intervention with the British.
One activist said 61,000 Yazidis turned up overnight in a northern Iraqi town behind the mountains, then disappeared northwards the following day. A refugee camp holding several thousand people from Mosul since its fall in June emptied in one panic-stricken hour on Friday.
Many of the worst scenes are on the mountain range near Sinjar. A doctor there with 5,000 other Yazidis told Human Rights Watch that ten to 15 people were dying daily, mainly from dehydration. ‘No water, no food, no rescue, no way out,’ he said.
Resala Shangali, a 26-year-old journalist, spent four days without food and just one slug of water desperately avoiding the advancing Islamic State forces with hundreds of other Yazidis.
She saw one infant die of dehydration and have to be dumped on the ground by his fleeing mother, another two-year-old fall over and die of a head injury, then five old people die one night alone.
On the second day, a woman gave birth, then both she and the baby died within half an hour despite several women trying to save them.
‘That night was the worst because my clothes were covered with blood from trying to help her and I could not sleep,’ she said.
Thousands of Christian, Yazidi and Kurdish refugees have lost everything and suddenly find themselves living in rubble-strewn building sites and crammed churches and feeling bewildered and betrayed.
Again and again yesterday I heard tales of families fleeing for their lives, many forced to pay huge sums for their survival to a group estimated to be the world’s wealthiest jihadist gang thanks to kidnapping, extortion, bank raids and oil sales.
Often they were given a choice to pay money, convert to Islam or die. Among them was Elias Ibrahim, a Christian taxi driver from Mosul who earned $500 a month. He was told he could stay if he handed over $450 a month to the insurgents.
Twafiq Aboosh, 64, a wealthy hotel owner and farmer, was returning home when he was ambushed.
The Islamists forced him and his four children to lie on the ground with guns to their heads while quizzing them about their religion, then ordered them to leave their property without looking back at it.
‘I have lost everything,’ he said.
Nearby, in a half-built car showroom I found a primary school head teacher, his father and several staff living with their large families among the dust and debris.
Although Muslims, they were targeted since they were Kurds – just as their people were previously victims of Saddam Hussein’s appalling atrocities and gas attacks.
They have seen their lives spiral into sudden degredation and despair. ‘These Islamic State people are not Muslims but murderers,’ said Hussein Zeewer, the 37-year-old head.
‘They shame our religion. It is even worse than Saddam.’
CRUCIFIED BY THE CALIPHATE MONSTERS: THE ONLY REPORTER INSIDE THE BLOODY ISLAMIC STATE REGIME REVEALS THEIR CHILLING BRUTALITY
– From Medyan Dairieh, filmmaker who reported for Vice News
Like everyone else, I had read about the cruelty and killings that the Islamic State fighters indulged in. I had read of the beheadings, the horrific crucifixions and the mass executions this group practised, which has even repulsed Al Qaeda.
So, I became determined to enter this world and see it for myself. Of all the reporting that I have done in places like Libya and Palestine, this was the most frightening, most dangerous assignment I have had.
After weeks of negotiations, I managed to enter the city of Raqqa, which is the capital of the terrorist group in Syria, from where it launches daily attacks against President Assad’s troops.
It was a surreal and a chilling experience, as I saw a regime of absolute control which imposed its strict sharia laws.
This is not some disorganised bloodthirsty terrorist group or makeshift army. They are very organised. Islamic State fighters ruthlessly beheaded Assad’s soldiers and spies on the front line. Their decapitated bodies were brought back to Raqqa and displayed in the town centre.
The IS men gave me a horrific video of decapitated soldiers’ bodies, which were left lying on the pavement in the centre of Raqqa. Some of the dismembered heads were placed on spikes.
They had prisons where they jailed people who had been caught drinking alcohol, and other small offences. I filmed young children telling me that they want to join the Islamic State and kill infidels, and I filmed IS fighters in gun battles against Assad’s troops on the front line.
The troops were surrounded by IS men, with one telling me they will now receive no supplies unless they are air-dropped to them.
IS men have so many guns that they are now in a position to give them away to new recruits or as gifts to ordinary people.
They had heavy artillery that could target low-flying aircraft, and they even had Scud missiles and tanks, with which some of the IS men even did a bit of joyriding for the cameras.
While I was in Raqqa, the IS leaders told me I had the freedom to go anywhere I like, and film what I like.
‘Leaders’ is not the right word, as IS does not have a hierarchical structure.
All soldiers have equal status, and they are all paid the same salary of £30 per month.
I saw a society of peculiarities that you find in authoritarian regimes. Smoking was banned in the city, as was music.
So you never heard anyone playing songs in their cars, or shops or cafes. Women were allowed out, but they must cover all their body, including their faces.
Not all men are required to have beards, but all IS members must wear a beard.
The whole city was prepared for war at all times.
There were thousands of IS soldiers in the city, and they all carried guns with them at all times. They were ready to jump into action within minutes. Although the soldiers were very hospitable towards me and cared for me, they did not hide their ruthless ambition.
They want to take over the world.
I filmed one soldier, who said to the camera he wanted to see the flag of IS over the White House. Another told me: ‘See you in Jordan, next time.’
Award-winning journalist and filmmaker Medyan Dairieh spent 10 days inside the Islamic State for Vice News. He is the first Western journalist to be embedded inside the world’s most dangerous terrorist group, documenting its inner workings.
Watch the VICE News documentary ‘The Islamic State’ on vicenews.com
ISIS THREATENS TO EXECUTE 300 YAZIDI FAMILIES THEY’VE SURROUNDED IN NORTHERN IRAQ AS THE EXTREMISTS CONTINUE TO LAY SIEGE TO MOUNTAIN WHERE 50,000 OF THE MINORITY ARE HOLED UP WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER
- Jihadist group says it will kill religious minority members in Koja, Hatimiya and Qaboshi unless they convert to Islam
- They are also surrounding Mount Sinjar, near the Turkish border, where Yazidi people fear slaughter at their hands
- Americans and Kurdish forces have made aid drops on the mountain, with British helicopters soon to join in
- Comes after Barack Obama authorised air strikes on Islamic State artillery emplacements and convoys yesterday
The Islamic State has threatened a fresh wave of violence against the Yazidi religious minority in Iraq, saying they will execute 300 families whom they have surrounded in northern Iraq.
It came after the jihadist militant group took hostage hundreds of Yazidi women in their stronghold city of Mosul yesterday, amid warnings that they had ‘vicious plans’ for their captives.
Fighters for the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS, continue to lay siege to a mountain near the Turkish border, where as many as 50,000 of the minority – considered apostates and devil-worshippers by IS – have been holed up without food or water.
They today received aid from Kurdish and American forces, who have intervened to protect the embattled minority group after an international outcry.
Masses of desperate, crying Yazidis were filmed today by a crew from Rudaw news perched in a Kurdish helicopter as water and supplies were dropped, while the chopper came under fire from IS troops below. American plans also dropped supplies, and RAF helicopters were today dispatched to do the same.
The latest threat to the three hundred families – who live in the villages of Koja, Hatimiya and Qaboshi – came after the Sunni militant group surrounded them, according to a Yazidi politician.
It came as U.S. President Barack Obama said more air strikes were likely around the Sinjar Mountains where the Yazidis are trapped – and refused to give a timetable for how long the offensive might take.
The U.S. and Iraqi governments have stepped up our military assistance to Kurds as they wage this fight,’ he said. ‘American aircraft are positioned to strike IS terrorists around the mountain to help forces in Iraq break the seige and rescue those who are trapped there.’
He insisted he was pursuing a ‘broader strategy’ aimed at ‘preventing an act of genocide’. ‘Ultimately only Iraqis can ensure the stability and security of Iraq’, he said. ‘The United States can’t do it for them.’
But he added: ‘We will protect our American citizens in Iraq whether they’re diplomats, civilians or military. If these terrorists threaten our facilities or our personnel we will take action to protect our people.
‘We will continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Iraqi government as they battle these terrorists so they cannot establish a safe haven.
‘This morning I spoke with Prime Minister Cameron of the UK and President Hollande of France and I’m pleased that both leaders agree with our strong support. Once again America is proud to act alongside our closest friends and allies.’
The haul on the C130 Hercules aircraft includes clean water, tents and tarpaulins for up to 75,000 people.
A second plane left this afternoon – but the Ministry of Defence has been keen to stress there are no desires to enter another war.
A spokesman told MailOnline today: ‘We’re talking about a humanitarian mission, not a military one’.
And Britain has Special Forces in the region working with US counterparts, identifying potential targets for further air strikes aimed at stopping the advances of Islamists towards Kurdish areas or Baghdad.
Many SAS men speak Arabic and know Iraq’s mountains and cities well after a decade of missions. An MoD spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on the movements of Special Forces’.
Yesterday extremists captured hundreds of Yazidi women in Mosul and held them in schools while thousands of other civilians fled in fear, according to officials.
Kami Amin, a spokesman for Iraq’s human rights ministry, said: ‘We think that the terrorists by now consider them slaves and they have vicious plans for them.
‘We think that these women are going to be used in demeaning ways by those terrorists to satisfy their animalistic urges in a way that contradicts all the human and Islamic values.’
Escorted by two Navy fighter jets this morning, three planes dropped 72 bundles of supplies for the refugees trapped in the Sinjar Mountains in northern Iraq, where they are trying to escape to Turkey.
The extremists’ ‘campaign of terror against the innocent, including the Yazidi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide,’ said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. ‘For anyone who needed a wake-up call, this is it.’
The U.S. bombing yesterday was followed up by a second round of airstrikes near Irbil, the city where officials said the artillery would have been used.
According to the U.N., more than 500,000 people have been displaced by the violence in Iraq since June, bringing the total this year to well over a million.
Expanding from their stronghold of Mosul, Islamic State have captured a string of towns and Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam and reservoir in recent weeks.
The group captured Mosul in June then launched a blitz towards the south, sweeping over Sunni-majority towns almost to the capital, Baghdad.
It already holds large parts of western Iraq and neighboring Syria, and Iraqi government forces crumbled in the face of the assault but have since been able to prevent the militants from advancing into Shiite-majority areas.
In the north, Kurdish fighters have been the main line of defense against the radicals but they are over-stretched and under-resourced.
In contrast to Washington’s decision to invade Iraq more than a decade ago, both the airdrop and the authorization of military action against the Islamic State group were widely welcomed by Iraqi and Kurdish officials fearful of the militants’ advance.
‘We thank Barack Obama,’ said Khalid Jamal Alber, from the Religious Affairs Ministry in the Kurdish government.
The International Rescue Committee said it was providing emergency medical care for up to 4,000 dehydrated Yazidis, mostly women and children, who survived without food or water for up to six days hiding in the Sinjar mountains before fleeing to a refugee camp in Syria, where a civil war is raging.
Officials in Britain, Germany and elsewhere pledged financial aid to support humanitarian efforts in Iraq, and several top European officials supported Obama’s decision to intervene with airstrikes.
WAR VICTIMS FLEE BACK TO SYRIA AS REFUGEE CAMP IN LEBANON IS BURNED TO THE GROUND BY INVADING ISIS FIGHTERS
- Refugees poured out of border town Arsal, heading back to war-torn home
- Follows incursions by Islamic forces into Lebanon over the past week
- Troops took Arsal, but were forced back by Lebanese army on Thursday
By KIERAN CORCORAN 10 August 2014
Refugees taking shelter in Lebanon from violent jihadists have turned around and headed back into war-torn Syria after insurgents launched repeated attacks across the border.
The fleeing victims of the Syrian civil war were seen yesterday at the border town of Arsal, picking through the remains of a refugee camp which Islamist fighters burned to the ground.
Having previously thought of Lebanon as a relatively safe haven from the long-running civil war between Syria dictator Bashar Assad and hard-line Muslim forces in the country, the Syrian victims found themselves in the firing line earlier this week after new attacks.
Today a new wave of Jihadists attacked the village of Kfar Qouq, but were forced back by armed locals.
Some of the fighters are thought to be members of the Islamic State (IS) group, despite their strongholds being hundreds of miles away in the north-east of Syria and parts of Iraq.
Lebanese security sources said the jihadist forces had also been under attack from Syrian government forces that day.
Kfar Qouq is near the Bekaa Valley town of Rashaya, 60 miles south of Arsal, which was seized a week ago by Islamist militants who crossed from Syria. That incursion was the most serious spillover yet of Syria’s three-year-long civil war into Lebanon.
Dozens of people were killed in five days of fighting between the army and the militants who included Islamists affiliated to the Islamic State, which has seized territory in Syria and Iraq.
The militants pulled out of Arsal to the mountainous border zone on Thursday, taking with them 19 captive soldiers.
Militant sources said on Friday that they sought to exchange them for Islamists held in Lebanese jails.
Two commanders close to the group said the demands had been sent to the Lebanese government and army
The militants withdrew from Arsal into the mountainous border region after a battle in which dozens of people were killed, including 17 soldiers.
The militants said their list of Islamist prisoners they want released included Emad Gomaa, whose arrest last Saturday sparked the incursion into Arsal. The army has said the attack by the Islamists had been long-planned.
Gomaa had been a commander in the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in the Syrian civil war, but he switched affiliation to the Islamic State in the weeks before his arrest.
The militants are also seeking the release of other Islamists jailed since a 2007 insurrection by an al Qaeda-inspired group at a Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon.
Last month, the Nusra Front issued a statement promising to secure the release of Islamist detainees being held at Roumieh prison, northeast of Beirut.
‘This has taken a long time and the government does not seem to be willing to listen or understand. Maybe this time they will,’ said the second militant source. ‘We have nothing to lose now, we have lost people and our people are refugees again so there is nothing more to lose.’
An army patrol entered Arsal town on Friday for the first time since the militants pulled out, a security source said.
IRAQI CHRISTIANS ARE THROWING THEIR CHILDREN FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP TO KEEP THEM FROM BEING RAPED, ENSLAVED, AND/OR SLAUGHTERED BY ISIS TERRORISTS
Imagine being trapped on top of a mountain, dying slowly of thirst, and knowing the only thing that awaits upon descent is certain death or capture by ISIS terrorists? This is exactly what is reportedly happening atop Mount Sinjar in Iraq.
The dire situation has caused some families to make a seemingly incomprehensible decision. Forced with the bleak realization of their children dying of thirst or possibly being captured by Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) militants, parents are making the unthinkable decision to throw their own children from the top of the mountain to end their suffering and bring about a quicker, and possibly more humane, death.
The dire situation has caused some families to make a seemingly incomprehensible decision. Forced with the bleak realization of their children dying of thirst or possibly being captured by Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) militants, parents are making the unthinkable decision to throw their own children from the top of the mountain to end their suffering and bring about a quicker, and possibly more humane, death.
Why would parents make that choice? We cannot assume what is going through their minds but here is a recent example of one of many possible reasons. One Islamic State animal recently announced his coming marriage to a seven-year-old child in Syria. One would question whether the situation in Iraq is much different. Islam’s prophet married Aisha at the age of six.
Patheos.com received this report from Ms. Christina Patto, VP of Assyrian Aid Society of Iraq:
It is a tragic situation, nobody can imagine how terrible it is, as much as I write to you and send you reports it will not be enough to describe the suffering of people.
For Zummar and Sinjar: they are under Da’esh control, thousands of Yazidis died in the last two days, they are facing a real genocide. Till yesterday (45) children died of thirst. Some families throw their children from the top of Sinjar mountain in order not to see them die from hunger or thirst, or not to be taken by the terrorists. (1500) men were killed in front of their wives and families, (50) old men died also from thirst and illness. More than (70) girl and women (including Christians) were taken, raped and being captured and sold. More than (100) families are captured in Tel afar airport.
There are about (50) Christian families in Sinjar. The terrorists were able to control the Syriac church there and cover the Cross with their black banner. Till now we do not know anything about those Christian families.