Islamic State Surrounds Amerli in Iraq, Threatens Turkmen Minority

Islamic State Surrounds Amerli in Iraq, Threatens Turkmen Minority

The Islamic State (IS) reached Amerli, 100 miles north of Baghdad, two months ago, but the terrorist group is attempting to tighten control of the town. The residents alerted officials in Baghdad just hours after suicide bombs and a mosque massacre left almost 100 people dead. The jihadists “mined its roads and posted snipers on its outskirts so that no one could leave.”

The news rattled people in Baghdad because this is how IS begins every takeover, which leads to massacres and minorities leaving the towns.

merli is home to Shi’ite Muslim Turkmen minority. Baghdad is worried these people will face the same horrific treatment IS inflicted on Yazidis, other Shi’ite Muslims, and Christians as the terrorist group continues its way across Iraq. The Yazidi massacres in Sinjar prompted the United States to conduct airstrikes on IS. Now Turkmen officials want the U.S. to target Amerli.

“Why did they hit ISIS in Sinjar but not in Amerli?” asked Fawzi Akram Tarzi, a Turkmen member of Iraqi Parliament. “We want the international community to deal with all Iraqi citizens in the same way.”

The Turkmen are considered a minority but are the third largest ethnic group in Iraq. The last reliable census was 1957, which placed the Turkmen population at 567,000. However, there could be many more since the censuses during Saddam Hussein’s reign only allowed people to pick Arab or Kurd. Some scholars say there are only 800,000 left in Iraq, while others claim there are over two million. The majority are Sunni Muslims.

Now that Amerli is an IS target, the situation is worse. Grand Ayatolla Ali al-Sistani is concerned citizens will not receive basic welfare supplies. People live without electricity, and the jihadists do not allow medicine or food to enter the town.

“After the attack of Mosul, all the Shia Turkmen villages around Amerli were captured by Islamic State,” said Dr Ali Albayati. “They killed the people and displayed their bodies outside the village. We have been trying to fight them off for 70 days. We have no electricity, no drinking water. Children have also died because of dehydration and disease.”

“It is a humanitarian disaster,” he continued. “Twenty-thousand people in Amerli are fighting off death. There are children who are only eating once every three days. I can’t describe the situation. I just don’t know what to say.”

But the world knows what happens when IS enters a town. Amerli is no different.

“You know what happens when Islamic State captures a village?” he asked. “They capture all the men, women and children and they kill them all, believe me. They keep just a few girls, you know, for other things.”

There are numerous reports out of other towns that IS captured women and young girls as sex slaves. A few reports state that over 3,000 females are now sex slaves for the jihadists. In fact, witnesses said IS took over 500 females to sell as sex slaves in Mosul. Others said the “most beautiful women were given to ISIS princes.” One British jihadist claimed on Twitter that the group owns hundred of Syrian women.

Nihad Albayati said there are no soldiers in Amerli, so residents depend upon each other to fight IS. Family members, including Albayati’s 13-year-old son, work together to protect the town.

“Am I scared for him?” he said. “No, I am proud. We parents are proud that our children are helping. This is our jihad. Islamic State are godless and merciless people.”