The actions of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, which include the mass killings and abductions of religious minorities in Iraq, amount to war crimes of historical proportions, according to a new report by the human rights group Amnesty International.
"The massacres and abductions being carried out by the Islamic State provide harrowing new evidence that a wave of ethnic cleansing against minorities is sweeping across northern Iraq," said Amnesty investigator Donatella Rovera, who wrote the new 26-page report published on Tuesday.
Since early June, when the Islamic State started its swift and bloody operations in northern Iraq, the militants have killed "hundreds" or "thousands" of people who are part of religious minorities like the Yazidis, Assyrian Christians, Turkmen Shi’a, or Shabak Shi’a, among other non-Arab and non-Sunni groups, according to Amnesty's report.
Amnesty, through interviews with hundreds of survivors and witnesses, documented cases where the militants rounded up and killed Yazidis after attacking their land in Iraq's Sinjar region last month.
"Some could not move and could not save themselves; they lay in agony waiting to die. They died a horrible death," a man named Salem told Amnesty, describing a massacre on Aug. 15 in the town of Kocho, where more than 90 residents were executed by Islamic State militants.