Yazidis who escaped ISIS trickle back into Iraq - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Yazidis who escaped ISIS trickle back into Iraq

Yazidis cross river from Mount Sinjar, Iraq to Syria and back into Iraq. (Source: CNN) Yazidis cross river from Mount Sinjar, Iraq to Syria and back into Iraq. (Source: CNN)
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FAYSH KHABUR, IRAQ (CNN) – Hundreds of Yazidis managed to make it on foot down from Mount Sinjar, northward into Syria, in a region controlled by Kurds. They managed to trek along the border to a crossing point back into Iraq, where a CNN crew saw some arrive Tuesday.

"If you're running for your life, you'll do it. You have no other choice," one elderly man told CNN in describing how he made it with his wife, children and grandchildren.

Aid organizations and representatives of the Kurdistan regional government met some of the arrivals with sandwiches and bottles of water.

A U.N. affiliate had buses transporting some people into town. But most of those arriving will have to figure out where to go on their own - and some told CNN they planned to camp out along the river at the crossing point into Iraq.

The United States is sending more troops to northern Iraq, a move that U.S. officials told CNN on Tuesday was necessary to look at humanitarian relief options for tens of thousands of Yazidis trapped in the mountains by extremists who have vowed to kill them.

More than 100 U.S. military advisers are being dispatched, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Word of the additional troops came the same day news broke of the crash of an Iraqi helicopter being used to bring aid to members of a minority group trapped in the Sinjar Mountains by the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS.

The helicopter crashed after making its food and water drop and picking up roughly two dozen Yazidis, just a fraction of the people stranded in the mountains.

The New York Times, which had two journalists on the flight, said between 20 and 25 Yazidi evacuees were on board.

The pilot died, but others survived, the Kurdistan Regional Government said. Kurdish rescue crews transported them to safety, bringing the injured to hospitals, the government said.

The military cited "technical failure" in the crash of the MI-17. Fuad Hussein, the Kurdish Regional Government's chief of staff, told CNN the situation appeared to have been caused by pilot error.

Survivors included a woman who has come to symbolize the struggles of Yazidis, one of the minority groups facing nightmarish slaughter from the group calling itself the Islamic State.

Vian Dakhil, the only Yazidi in Parliament, appealed to the government last week for help in stopping the slaughter of her people.

New York Times journalist Alissa Rubin suffered "a concussion, at least one broken wrist and possibly some broken ribs but was conscious," The Times reported. Freelance photographer Adam Ferguson "said via cellphone text that he suffered a sore jaw and some minor bumps," the newspaper reported.

Three helicopters are being used to reach the desperate Yazidi families who fled to Mount Sinjar more than a week ago, Hussein said.

The Islamic State has been carrying out a campaign of terror and ethnic cleansing.

U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in northern Iraq have helped Iraqi troops and Kurdistan's peshmerga fighters to carry out the missions. Kurdistan is a part of northern Iraq controlled by Kurds.

U.S. strikes ISIS mortar position

On Tuesday, the U.S. military "successfully" conducted a strike against an ISIS mortar position north of Sinjar, the military's Central Command said. ISIS had been firing on Kurdish forces that were defending Yazidis who were trying to flee the area, Central Command said.

It was not immediately clear when additional troops would be deployed to northern Iraq to work in an adviser capacity.

The move comes as the Obama administration is looking to boost the capabilities of Kurdish forces.

Another part of the U.S. effort involves helping arm the peshmerga.

"ISIS has all sorts of sophisticated weapons," Hussein said. ISIS, which was previously al Qaeda in Iraq, took many U.S.-made weapons after Iraqi military units abandoned their posts and fled. The group has tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and more, Hussein said. "We need either the same kinds of weapons, or more sophisticated weapons, so that we can beat ISIS."

The United States has already provided the peshmerga with some munitions, he said.

Yazidis who escaped trickle back in

Hundreds of Yazidis managed to make it on foot down from Mount Sinjar, northward into Syria, in a region controlled by Kurds. They managed to trek along the border to a crossing point back into Iraq, where a CNN crew saw some arrive Tuesday.

"If you're running for your life, you'll do it. You have no other choice," one elderly man told CNN in describing how he made it with his wife, children and grandchildren.

Aid organizations and representatives of the Kurdistan regional government met some of the arrivals with sandwiches and bottles of water.

A U.N. affiliate had buses transporting some people into town. But most of those arriving will have to figure out where to go on their own -- and some told CNN they planned to camp out along the river at the crossing point into Iraq.

Deadly car bombs in Baghdad

Meanwhile, at least nine people were killed and dozens were wounded in two car bombings Tuesday in Baghdad, police said.

One took place near an outdoor market in the Zafaraniya neighborhood. The other was in a high-traffic area near the Abdul Hamid hospital in Baghdad's central Karrada district.

U.S. pushes new PM-designate

The United States hopes the newly designated Prime Minister will form a Cabinet quickly and build a united front against ISIS rebels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.

The nomination Monday of Haider al-Abadi to replace Nuri al-Maliki offers al-Abadi the chance to form a new government over the next 30 days before he can formally take office.

"We urge him to form a new Cabinet as urgently as possible, and the U.S. does stand ready to fully support a new and inclusive Iraqi government," Kerry told reporters at a news conference in Sydney, Australia, emphasizing the threat posed by ISIS. The group calls itself the Islamic State but formerly was known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

But the process may be complicated by al-Maliki, who has vowed to hang on to power.

In an indication that al-Maliki wouldn't go quietly, he appeared Monday with mostly junior members of his party who announced that they would contest the decision to nominate al-Abadi in court.

The new Prime Minister-designate is the deputy speaker of the Iraqi Parliament and a former aide to al-Maliki.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum nominated al-Abadi, a prominent Shiite politician, for the job Monday despite al-Maliki's pronouncement earlier in the day that he intends to stay in office for a third term.

Kerry reiterated Tuesday that the United States will not send ground troops back into battle in Iraq.

"This is a fight that Iraqis need to join on behalf of Iraq," he said.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

 

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