Jonathan Krohn har latt seg frakte opp til Sinjar-fjellet for å se med egne øyne hvordan yezidiene har det.

I dag viste CNN de første bilder av kvinner og barn som fraktes ut i et helikopter. De må forlate andre medlemmer av familien. De er knust. Tragedien står skrevet i ansiktene deres.

Krohn skriver for Daily Telegraph. Yezidiene visste ingenting før ISIS rullet inn. Så begynte skrekkregimet, som minner om utrenskninger på Balkan: henrettelse av grupper av mennesker. Panikk. Folk flykter, opp i fjellene. Selv det er en voldsom anstrengelse. Mange blir drept. Det som møter dem der oppe er enda verre. De forstår at hvis de blir vil alle dø.

Karim Qasem, 30, and his brother walked three miles to the mountain with their parents on their backs, then used a donkey to carry them to the further mountain where they could hear helicopters landing.

“When the firefights happened, my brother and I put our parents on our back and walked three miles and stayed on the mountain over there for three days,” said Karim Qasem, 30. “Then we heard the helicopter on this mountain and we walked here. We found a donkey and used it to carry my parents over. It took us three days to reach here.”

His father, Qasem Murat Khalaf, 67, said: “When we ran originally we were being shot at, and eight of my family members were killed.”

To arrive was one thing; to survive another. And to escape became the final goal, as it became clear that no-one could last long if they stayed where they were. Many have now been saved by an incursion of Kurdish militia from neighbouring Syria, the YPG, who seized the road to the frontier and have begun leading trapped Yazidis off the mountain.

Tens of thousands are now streaming into Syria, then back into the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq, a journey of 60 miles. Some find vehicles; many are walking, a pitiful sight as they stagger down the hills. There are now said to be up to 100,000 Yazidi refugees in the border area.

“We walked seven hours from the top of the mountain to the road and on the road were the YPG,” said Naif Khalif, 37. “We started at six and arrived at 10 at night, partly walking, with some lifts.”

Others, the sick and injured, are airlifted off by helicopter.

The Yazidis are among the poorest people in Iraq. Doctors say tuberculosis is endemic, and in these dire conditions its symptoms are starting to show among the sickly and elderly.

But the numbers who can be flown off are few, and are often separated from their families as they board.

Many families have lost touch with their children. Mr Khalif, who walked off, said he had lost his 15-year-old son, Shirwan, on the mountain and had not been able to find him.

The fear of leaving without their loved ones, scattered across the 45-mile long range, is keeping many there, even as they face starvation and death. They had lost their homes to Islamic State. They are unwilling to lose their children and parents, all they have left.

«If we know we cannot save our families, we will kill ourselves,» said Hussein Khader Kaskay, 50. The crowd around him shouted their assent.


Les også