The Yazidis

Large parts of the Yezidi population of northwestern Iraq have taken refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan. They live in camps, under bridges or in unfinished buildings, many of them in the area of Dohuk.
In the beginning of August 2014 the Yezidis fled their homes because the Sunni extremist group Islamic State attacked the areas they lived. Around 40,000 made it to Mount Sinjar where they were surrounded by Islamic State forces. They were left there virtually without food or water, and many died. The Yezidis were able to escape from the mountain with the help of American air strikes. But many were left behind and either killed or kidnapped.
The Yezidi religion is a mixture of ancient religions, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Sufi influences. They worship seven angels, of which Melek Taus or the Peacock Angel is the most important. Muslims and Christians often identify Melek Taus with the devil and accuse the Yezidis for being devil worshippers. The Yezidis have experienced countless attacks, both historically and in modern times.

A group of internally displaced Yazidis stand outside a tent in the refugee camp in Khanke.
Many of the Yazidis have taken refuge under bridges or in unfinished buildings. A group of Yazidis now live under a bridge in Dohuk.
Arjen is held by her mother. Most of the time her head is covered by a towel to protect her face. Her family thinks that the sores around her mouth and nose are caused by sunburns. The refugee camp in Khanke.
A small boy eats on the ground between the tents in the refugee camp in Khanke.
A small boy in the refugee camp in Khanke.
Many of the Yazidis have taken refuge in unfinished buildings. A group of Yazidis now live on the bottom floors of two unfinished buildings in the outskirts of Dohuk.
Hozan Salman, 11 years old, sits outside a tent in the refugee camp in Khanke.
Two Yazidi men sit in a tent in the refugee camp in Khanke.
A small girl sleeps under a bridge in Dohuk. Her parents have covered her face to keep the flies away.
Many of the Yazidis have taken refuge under bridges or in unfinished buildings. A group of Yazidis now live under a bridge in Dohuk.
Roma sits with her little girl that has not been named yet. The child was born three days earlier. Roma lives in an unfinished building in the outskirts of Dohuk.
Many of the Yazidis have taken refuge in unfinished buildings. A group of Yazidis now live on the bottom floors of two unfinished buildings in the outskirts of Dohuk.