The Yazidis are a mostly Kurdish-speaking people who adhere to Yazidism, an ancient religion that melds various theological and mythological religious traditions. Throughout their long history, Yazidis have been singled out repeatedly for persecution. Under Islamic law as observed by ISIS, Yazidis are officially given the choice to convert to Sunni Islam or die.
In August 2014, Yazidis were targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in its campaign to “purify” Iraq and neighboring countries of non-Islamic influences, causing 30,000–50,000 Yazidis to flee into the mountains. Thousands of men and boys were shot and beheaded, women abducted and sold at auction as sex slaves. In extremely adverse circumstances, thousands of Yazidis managed to flee towards the Sinjar Mountains, where they remained trapped for four months, until Kurdish Peshmerga managed to open a land corridor, breaking the siege.
With this series of images, I would like to draw attention to the desperate situation of the Yazidis, who are the main victims of this ongoing conflict. I hope to convey a sense of the despair of the encircled, the struggle for survival, the war with all its horrors, and the role of religion.