A rescue effort has freed 20,000 of the Yazidi refugees trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq and surrounded by ISIS forces, CNN reports
, but thousands remain trapped with limited food and water supplies.
As the U.S. military hit ISIS targets on Sunday, the Kurdish military was able to reach some the Yazidi Iraquis and help them board trucks. They were then taken to the Syrian border town of Hasaka, Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights spokesman Kamil Amin told CNN.
From Hasaka they were taken to the Iraqi border city of Dohuk, where they were given shelter.
Between 30,000 and 40,000 Yazidis remain on Mount Sinjar, where they fled after ISIS attacks last weekend. The U.S. military is airdropping food and water to the Yazidis after President Barack Obama announced the humanitarian effort late last week.
The United States also is using limited airstrikes against ISIS targets, which were getting closer to Irbil, the regional Kurdish capital where American advisers are based.
Kurdish forces also recaptured the towns of Mahmour and Gweyr, which had fallen into ISIS hands last week, but the Kurds lost ground in other areas, including the strategically important town of Jalawla, CNN reported.
Militants with ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have claimed large portions of Iraq and Syria and have declared a caliphate, or religious state, in the region. They also have vowed to raise "the flag of Allah" over the White House.
Their brutality has included forced conversions to Islam and beheadings, and some reports claim ISIS members have buried Yazidi families alive.
The Yazidis follow an ancient monotheistic faith rooted in Zoroastrianism that has elements of Islam, Christianity, which it predates. Yazidis are targeted as devil worshipers by ISIS because they believe in seven angels, one named Shaitan, the Quran's name for Satan.
Iraq's Yazidis have been threatened with death at the hands of ISIS if they refuse to convert to Islam. ISIS also has forced thousands of Christians to flee, convert, or be killed.
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