Yazidi refugees stranded atop Mount Sinjar are seen swarming aid helicopters

Stories told of whole families lost — or forced to convert to Islam or die

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo News
Yazidis in Iraq flee for their lives
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In this file photo taken Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, a 15-year-old Yazidi girl captured by the Islamic State group and forcibly married to a militant in Syria sits on the floor of a one-room house she now shares with her family after escaping in early August, while speaking in an interview with The Associated Press in Maqluba, a hamlet near the Kurdish city of Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Dalton Bennett, File)

Yazidi refugees stranded for days atop Iraq's Mount Sinjar by jihadis from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are now swarming helicopters arriving with food and water. The plight of the refugees has propelled President Barack Obama to authorize humanitarian aid drops and airstrikes to protect them.

CNN journalist Ivan Watson was aboard one of the Iraqi air force helicopters as it delivered aid to and evacuated some Yezidis trapped on the mountain after they fled forces loyal to ISIL, also known as ISIS. According to Watson, a gunner went through "belts of ammo" while firing at militant targets during the flight.

 

Mark Phillips, a CNN photojournalist, captured dramatic video footage of the rescue of some Yazidis during an Iraqi military humanitarian airdrop.


Jonathan Rugman, a foreign affairs correspondent for U.K.'s Channel 4 News, had a similar experience while riding in one of the Iraqi military helicopters.


On Saturday, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense released footage of unidentified planes dropping aid to refugees in the Sinjar region.


On Sunday, Rugman tweeted photos of some of the refugees who managed to escape the mountaintop, along with their stories.

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