Ten thousand Yazidis rescued from Iraq's Mount Sinjar
Kurdish Peshmerga forces have rescue an estimated 10,000 Iraqi Yazidis from Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq where they have been trapped for the past week while seeking refuge from militants led by the self-declared Islamic State.
Sinjar District Governor told a press conference on Saturday they are using a safe corridor set up jointly by Kurdish Pesmergas forces and YPG - the Kurdish acronym for the Popular Protection Units - to evacute the Yazidis from the mountain and move them to Syria.
Mount Sinjar, situated in north-west Iraq near the border with Syria, has been home to thousands of Yazidis - a Kurdish ethno-religious community in northern Iraq - who have fled to safety in fear of being massacred by IS militants who consider them "devil-worshippers."
The governor said the rescue efforts went well but added that they need more means to accelerate the evacuation of the stranded Yazidis, dozens of whom have died of thirst and heat on the mountain surrounded by militants.
"We are transferring the rescued Yazidis to Syria via a safe corridor. Then we will take them to Zakho city in the Duhok province of the Kurdish autonomous region," he added.
Humanitarian aid boxes from Turkey were also dropped by Iraqi helicopters to members of the Yazidi religious minority who have fled to the Sinjar mountains, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced on Thursday.
So far, the US military cargo planes have delivered two humanitarian airdrops of meals and fresh drinking water to stranded Yazidis.
On Friday, US drones bombed Islamic State positions and also artillery used to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil where US personnel are located.
The attacks came after President Barack Obama authorized US personnel in Erbil on Thursday evening to protect and support Kurdish forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar.
The Sinjar region fell to militant hands on Sunday after fierce clashes with Kurdish Peshmerga forces who had to withdraw after the city's capture.