LONDON (AA) – The son of an Ezidi leader has called for Turkey to help Ezidi refugees trapped in northern Iraq.
Breen Tahseen, the son of Prince Tahseen Saeed Bek, who is leader of the Ezidi people, said Turkey should open its borders to allow Ezidi refugees in and to deliver humanitarian aid.
Tahseen also said Turkey should arm those fighting the so-called Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
Ezidis, an ethnic minority in Iraq, are a religious sect fusing Zoroastrian, Manichaean, Jewish, Nestorian Christian and Islamic elements. Orthodox Islamic scholars regard them as heretical.
Tahseen, 33, works in the Iraqi consulate in Manchester but said he was speaking in a personal capacity.
“Turkey is more important than France and Britain, because Turkey is closer to Iraq and has more power in Iraq, especially northern Iraq,” he said.
He called on Turkey and others to put troops on the ground to push IS back. France has pledged to arm Kurdish peshmerga forces battling Islamic State militants.
“IS is not just dangerous for Ezidi people; it affects everyone,” Tahseen said.
He called on European countries to take in Ezidi refugees. He said thousands of Ezidi were trapped and unless doctors and soldiers were put on the ground there was no way of knowing the exact number.
He said more than 600 Ezidi women and girls had been kidnapped by Islamic State fighters and taken to Mosul.
Mount Sinjar, in northwest Iraq near the border with Syria, has been home to thousands of Ezidis who have fled in fear of being massacred by Islamic State militants, who consider them “devil-worshippers.”
The militants have been blamed for several massacres already. Reports say that hundreds of people have been massacred, including at least 80 Ezidis who refused to convert to Islam.
More than 1 million civilians have been displaced by the clashes in the north and west of the country.
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