10 Facts About the Genocide of Yazidis by ISILIslamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State, is an insurgent group operating in Iraq and Syria. Its propaganda is centered around brutality towards its enemies and those who violate Islamic law. Here are 10 facts about the genocide of Yazidis by ISIL.

Top Yazidis Genocide Facts

  1. The Yazidis are a Kurdish religious minority who live in Iraq, Syria, the Caucasus region and some parts of Turkey and Iran. Their religion has elements of Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrianism. The Yazidis were subjected to genocide several times under the Ottoman rule in the 18th and 19th centuries for their beliefs. On August 3, 2014, ISIL attacked the Yazidi living in Sinjar (Iraq).
  2. The most important of the facts about the genocide of Yazidis by ISIL is the orchestrated attack that was a part of a wider offensive to take control of minorities and Christians, who were asked to convert to Islam or pay religious taxes to stay alive. However, the Yazidis were declared infidels and “devil-worshippers” who deserved to be exterminated from the face of the earth.
  3. Tens of thousands of Yazidis had to flee to Mount Sinjar. They remained trapped there for days and many died of hunger and dehydration, while hundreds were massacred by ISIL. On August 7, 2014, the U.S. announced military action to help the trapped Yazidis at the request of the Iraqi government.
  4. Around 10,000 Yazidis were either killed or captured in August 2014 alone, out of which 3,100 were murdered by gunshots, beheaded and burned alive.
  5. In addition to the killings, ISIL systematically separated the women to rape, sexually mutilate and sterilize while many children were sent to training camps.
  6. The sexual violence against Yazidi women captured by ISIL is the most talked about among the facts about the genocide of Yazidis by ISIL. Around 7,000 women were sold as sex slaves or handed to jihadists as concubines. Girls as young as nine were sold off to Islamic State fighters, routinely raped and punished with extreme violence when they tried to escape. Children were killed as a means to punish their mothers for resisting.
  7. Mass graves were found with bodies of older women who could not command a price in the sex market. These mothers and grandmothers were not considered young or beautiful enough to rape, so they were simply taken behind the technical institute to be shot down in Solagh, east of Sinjar.
  8. Videos were recorded of “converted” Yazidi men and boys urging their relatives to convert to Islam and were then shown in all the holding sites. Families that obeyed were reunited. However, ISIL determined in the spring of 2015 that all conversions by Yazidis were false and separated all the reunited families.
  9. The Yazidi shrines of Sheikh Mand, Sheikh Hassan, Malak Fakhraddin and Mahma Rasha were destroyed following the attack. Yazidi homes were marked with symbols to distinguish them from others so that they could be looted and destroyed.
  10. The United Nations has classified the attacks on Yazidis by ISIL as genocide in its report, stating “ISIS has sought to erase the Yazidis through killings; sexual slavery, enslavement, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and forcible transfer causing serious bodily and mental harm; the infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death; the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community.”

– Tripti Sinha

Photo: Flickr

Top Developments in the lives of the Iraqi Kurds: Why it MattersThe fight against ISIS and the turbulence in the Middle East has adversely impacted Iraqi Kurds recently. The poverty rate in Iraqi Kurdistan has quadrupled to 15 percent, largely due to the fight against ISIS, civilian casualties, the influx of refugees and insuperable pressure on resources. One in 10 Iraqi Kurds live below the internationally recognized poverty line.

Since 2014, over a million refugees have arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2015, the World Bank estimated that the Kurdistan Region needs $1.4 billion in humanitarian response. The number of internally displaced persons to the region continues to increase.

The Kurds are an important ethnic group in the Middle East, often recognized for their efforts to achieve self-governance. Iraqi Kurdistan is a rather controversial oil-rich region, with especially large reserves in the province of Kirkuk. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has been the ruling body of Iraqi Kurdistan since 1992. In 2005, the Iraqi Constitution officially recognized the autonomy of the Kurds in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The Iraqi Kurds have played a pivotal role in the combat against ISIS. The Iraqi Kurdish forces are a vital part of the U.S. coalition against the Islamic State. Despite accounting for close to 20 percent of the population in Iraq, the Iraqi Kurds have suffered a slew of human rights violations over the years and have been oppressed due to their “minority” status. In most recent years, these attacks can be traced back to the time of Saddam Hussein and the Gulf War.

Moreover, the KRG faces many obstacles in its path to win a pending referendum and mend the infrastructure and administration in the country. The economy, resources and commerce of the region is in a poor state. The government is facing problems in financing the incomes of the people in many conclaves, as individuals are only receiving about half of their monthly salaries. The KRG is also working on improving the transparency and accountability of state financial institutions and businesses in the region to regulate the channeling of public funds.

Even though unemployment has peaked at more than 13.5 percent due to labor immobility and the lack of labor market reforms, the World Bank is still spearheading reform plans for the future. The Iraqi Kurds face a rather uncertain future ahead of them, given the clamorous events of the past and present. Self- determination has been an unavailing right for many. In a landmark move, a referendum is being called for Kurdish independence from Iraq.

However, the referendum is being eyed with a great degree of skepticism from the U.N., Iran, Turkey, Iraq and the United States. Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi is demanding a suspension to the referendum scheduled to be held on September 25, given the precarious position the region is currently in. Many are reminded of the Arab-Israeli conflicts that still impact many countries in the Middle East.

Many leaders have expressed that the referendum vote could potentially destabilize the region further, threaten Kurdish minorities and negatively affect the campaign against ISIS. Russia remains a strong ally of the Iraqi Kurds and is a major contributor to Kurdish oil and gas revenue. This will help bolster the region’s economic potential. Israel also remains another country pledging their support for the vote.

Furthermore, supporting the Iraqi Kurds’ right to establishing a sovereign state could also create safe zones and conclaves. This could effectually deal with the refugee crisis plaguing Iraq currently and help offer a more sustainable solution to the problem in the long run.

Contrary to what many entities believe, the vote could prove to be successful in ushering more progress and development, both socially and economically. It can also pave the way for improved relations in the region and put an end to the suppression of Kurds in many landlocked regions in the Middle East and finally liberate an important minority group.

-Shivani Ekkanath

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rates in IraqIn 2010 the poverty rate in Iraq was on the decline, showing a decrease from 23 percent to 19 percent in 2013, according to Iraq Ministry of Planning spokesperson Abdul Zahra al-Hindawi. However, the current war with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) has caused a significant number of people to flee from the northern and western parts of the country.

After the war in Iraq, the county was left decimated by poverty. Prior to the Iraq war the percentage of Iraqi people living in slums was approximately 20 percent. At the end of the Iraq war that percentage dramatically rose to 53 percent due to structural damage to many facilities and the mass displacement of civilians.

Following the crippling of its economy and infrastructure, Iraq worked to rebuild and to reduce its poverty rate, which was considered by most to be alarmingly high. However, entering the vacuum created by the withdrawal of U.S. troops emerged another enemy in the war on poverty, the Islamic State. In 2014, the poverty rate of the country resurged to 22.5 percent, almost eclipsing the progress that had previously been made.

After examining the poverty rates in Iraq, it becomes clear there are two main contributors to the rise of poverty in unison with the emergence of ISIS: the need to divert funding to fighting ISIS, an overarching lack of cashflow, and the high poverty rates within ISIS-controlled territory.

With the continued presence and aggression seen from ISIS, the Iraqi government has been forced to divert a significant portion of its funds to anti-ISIS military measures. This has hurt the Iraqi people by diverting funds that could otherwise be invested into state-run aid programs meant to further the fight against poverty.

In a uniquely contrasting situation, 99 percent of government revenue in Iraq is produced by the country’s oil sector. The oil sector only employs around 1 percent of the country’s population, however, leaving the remainder of the Iraqi economy to struggle to fill the remaining gap. Due to the sharp decline in the price of a barrel of oil, the country revenues have sharply declined, most noticeably felt by the construction industry.

The head of services and construction provincial committee Ghalib al-Zamili explained that the “fiscal deficit has led to the freezing of most of [the] infrastructure projects” in Baghdad. In total, this adds to “more than 750 infrastructure projects that have been halted.”

Territory occupied by ISIS also faces heightened levels of poverty in comparison to the rest of the country, significantly anchoring the poverty rates in Iraq. Poverty rates in regions controlled by ISIS are reported to be 41 percent in comparison to the already-high 22.5 percent seen in the rest of the country.

Numerous issues that have caused the poverty rates in Iraq to significantly increase. While some of the issues present require prolonged military action to resolve, such as the presence of the Islamic State, others can be and should be a focal point of U.S. foreign aid spending.

Garrett Keyes

Photo: Flickr

Human Rights In Yemen
Yemen is a nation located in Western Asia at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is also the second-largest country in the region and has a population of around 25.5 million people. Due to the unstable nature of the nation’s government coupled with the influence of insurgent groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda, human rights in Yemen is a topic that needs to be discussed for it to move from a developing nation to a developed one.

Human Rights In Yemen

Due to the influence of extremist Islamic groups in this region of the world, Yemen struggles to ensure the rights of its women. As a result, human rights in Yemen are not yet where they need to be.

Even though the Yemeni Constitution of 1994 states that women have equal rights as men, the country still struggles to provide this for all women. Yemen’s Personal Status law gives women fewer rights than men and excludes women from decision making and deprives them access and control over their resources and assets.

On top of this, women in Yemen do not have the right to initiate divorce in the same way a man can. Women must first go to court and justify to the public why divorce is imperative to their safety. Yemen has a horrible record of child marriage. According to a UNICEF study in 2005, 48.4% of women in Yemen were married before the age of 18. Worse yet, it was only in 2010 that a new law stated the minimum age for marriage in the country was 17.

Freedom Of The Press

Yemen ranks at 136 out of 167 nations in regard to its press freedom. The government has total control over all television and can ban anything that they deem to be releasing “incorrect” information. To further explain the severity of this situation, a journalist in the newspaper Al-Shura criticized Abdul Majeed al-Zindani in a 2001 newspaper. As a result of this action, this journalist was sentenced to 80 lashes.

Freedom of the press is a luxury that many individuals in the West take for granted. If human rights in Yemen are to improve, the ability to publish information without the threat of violence must first be allowed.

Freedom Of Religion

Due to the immense influence of insurgent groups in the region, freedom of religion is hard to attain. The constitution of the country declares Islam as the state religion and uses Sharia law as the source of all governmental legislation. Although Yemen does allow people to practice any religion, a citizen of Yemen is not authorized to convert to another religion if they are currently Muslim.

Different religious groups in the region often get into conflicts and attacks on Jews in Yemen are commonplace. Since the start of the Shia insurgency in the Middle East, many Zaidi Muslims were accused of supporting them. This accusation led to these groups being arrested, beaten, and at times murdered under false accusations. For human rights in Yemen to improve, and to allow people to have the freedom of religion that the Constitution dictates, a significant change must occur in the region.

Progress Is Being Made

Although human rights in Yemen are not ideal at this point in time, the government of Yemen is doing much work to fix this issue. Recently, Yemen has been involved in numerous treaties to repair the state of human rights in the country.

Continued political support of these treaties is one way human rights in Yemen can continue to improve. On top of this, attention from the media in countries with freedom of the press will continue to pressure the government of Yemen to improve these conditions.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr

 Refugees from Iraq
Most refugees from Iraq were forced to leave their homes after the militant group ISIS invaded the region. ISIS began to infiltrate Iraq in 2014, creating a large-scale humanitarian crisis in the region. Since then, ISIS has gained control of some of the largest cities in the country and has caused 3.4 million individuals to be uprooted from their homes.

Increasing numbers of displaced persons are fleeing war-torn regions of Iraq, and in response to the crisis, international organizations are rallying to provide relief. Ahead are 10 facts about refugees from Iraq.

10 Things You Need to Know About Refugees From Iraq

  1. Many Iraqis are internally displaced and have relocated to safer parts of the country. Around 850,000 Iraqis have fled to the Kurdish region of Iraq, where 250,000 Syrian refugees are already living. Many people now live in displacement camps with access to emergency supplies and medical care.
  2. Nearly 16,000 Iraqis were forced into Syria, where ISIS is also controlling various regions of the country. Many refugees pay smugglers to lead them on dangerous and exhausting journeys across ISIS territory.
  3. Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, remains in the hands of ISIS. Around 500,000 people may be trapped in the western part of the city with minimal or no access to necessary aid. Those who live in the eastern part of Mosul are living in dangerous conditions as well and will also face the challenge of entirely rebuilding their lives.
  4. In October 2016, a military operation began to free the city of Mosul from ISIS control. Even if the operation is eventually successful and Mosul is retaken from ISIS, mines and other explosive devices will remain scattered throughout the city. This will prevent many refugees from returning home safely.
  5. In addition to food and shelter, many Iraqi refugees require trauma counseling and medical care. ISIS has imposed severe restrictions on the individuals who live in the regions it controls. People are left without jobs and struggle to meet their basic needs. Numerous religious buildings and heritage sites have also been destroyed.
  6. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides relief to vulnerable Iraqis. It provides counseling to women and girls, gives monetary aid to displaced families and provides business training to Iraqi youth in camps.
  7. The World Bank plans to offer Iraq financial support for reconstruction efforts after ISIS is defeated. The organization will also focus efforts on rebuilding the social fabric of the country upon the return of refugees. In December, the World Bank approved a loan of $1.485 billion to Iraq.
  8. In 2016, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) provided immediate relief to more than 118,000 people in Mosul. They also gave more than 156,000 people in the area access to safe water and vaccinated more than 13,500 children against measles. The organization plans to continue these efforts in 2017, with a goal of providing 1.3 million displaced persons with relief kits within 72 hours of a trigger for response.
  9. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) partners with local authorities in the Kerbala and Najaf governorates of Iraq to meet the needs of internally displaced persons. It provides medical and mental health services at camps in the region. In 2016, the organization oversaw the refurbishment of three schools and a water network benefiting 8,2000 individuals.
  10. Refugee camps run by the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will have increasing space as displaced persons begin to return to east Mosul. In camps near the city, there are more than 4,000 family plots available for new arrivals. UNHCR plans to develop additional facilities and plots as need increases.

Though the situation of many refugees from Iraq is bleak, hope remains. Organizations are working to provide relief to those displaced by the conflict. The fight to return ISIS-controlled regions of Iraq to their people will continue.

Lindsay Harris

Photo: Flickr

At the apex of Islamic State (IS) control, 10 million people were living in territory under IS authority. However, that number has been steadily decreasing.

By December 2015, the Salafi jihadist group controlled an extensive territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria that formed an unrecognized proto-state. Outside of Iraq and Syria, IS controls territory in Libya, Sinai and Afghanistan.

The jihadist group gained international attention when it invaded and overtook Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. Iraq’s fight to remove the Islamic State group from Mosul has ravaged for six months, with the violence causing more than 215,000 citizens to become displaced.

Twenty miles west of Mosul, U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, met with Iraqi citizens inside a camp designated for displaced individuals. He later stated that “these people have suffered enormously,” and without aid, “they go on suffering.”

The Secretary-General urges for increased funding for U.N. programs in Iraq. He calls for “international solidarity” and aid for the people of Mosul.

The U.N. estimates that $985 million is required for emergency funds to assist displaced individuals throughout Iraq. Providing shelter for thousands of people fleeing Mosul will cost at least $7 million as the fighting continues. Presently, U.N. programs in Iraq have only reached eight percent of their funding budget.

The current focus area in the larger battle against IS centers around the control of Mosul. The city is the jihadist group’s last critical bastion in Iraq. Financial assistance for Iraqi and Kurdish security forces is a key component for regaining Mosul, which has been under IS authority since 2014.

Nearly 750,000 people continue to live in western Mosul. There, the conflict between Islamic State militants and Iraqi and Kurdish forces has led to thousands of casualties. Most of the residents do not have access to clean drinking water or sufficient food. Excluding the Iraqi military, agencies have not been able to provide aid for the people of Mosul due to the extreme levels of violence in the area.

The U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting shortly after the U.S. released 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian air base in early April. U.N. chief Guterres advised the council to unify and reach a peaceful agreement on moving forward in Syria. “For too long,” he states, “international law has been ignored in the Syrian conflict, and it is our shared duty to uphold international standards of humanity.” Guterres believes this is a “prerequisite” to ending the continued suffering of the people of Mosul and Syria.

Madison O’Connell

Photo: Flickr

In October of last year, a coalition including Iraqi, Kurdish and Assyrian troops launched what they hoped would be a final assault to retake Mosul from the Islamic State. Nearly six months later, the battle continues to rage on. Over 200,000 people have been displaced because of this conflict. In northern Iraq, Samaritan’s Purse is working to provide food and healthcare. The Samaritan’s Purse Hospital in Iraq opened on Christmas day and has cared for more nearly 1,000 patients.

The Samaritan’s Purse Hospital in Iraq is located in the northern plains of Nineveh. It has an emergency room and two operating rooms to serve patients who might not survive a lengthy trip to the nearest medical center in Erbil.

As expected, many of the patients being treated are victims of trauma, both physical and psychological. What may surprise people is that most of the patients at the Samaritan’s Purse Hospital in Iraq are women or children. For over two years, Mosul has been under ISIS control. The Iraqis have witnessed their communities destroyed by fire and bombs set off by the extremists. They have witnessed the beheading of those that have tried to resist.

Time seems to be running out for ISIS in Iraq’s second-largest city, and their desperation is clear. As Iraqi forces close in on the remaining ISIS stronghold, the extremists have resorted to using chemical weapons on innocent civilians. Patients at the Samaritan’s Purse Hospital in Iraq and other medical facilities have presented symptoms consistent with chemical exposure. Victims of chemical attacks can suffer from eye irritation, coughing, blisters, and vomiting. WHO activated an emergency response plan to help aid in the treatment of these patients.

These extreme measures being used by ISIS suggest that defeat is imminent. However, even after ISIS has been defeated in Mosul, and the Samaritan’s Purse hospital in Iraq can be closed, a battle remains to be fought — one with new, potentially more difficult challenges than the current conflict. In the absence of a shared, unifying enemy, disparate factions could prevent the country from recovering properly. Without sufficient support and leadership, the victory would be incomplete.

Rebecca Yu

Photo: Flickr

Education in Mosul: Keeping Hope Alive
Occupied by the Islamic State since 2014, Mosul has been in the news recently as the site of the most largely-deployed Iraqi army since 2003. As the state attempts to wrest control of the city back from ISIS, Mosul has suffered heavy casualties and numerous humanitarian crises.

Recently, 40 percent of Mosul’s population was cut off from their water supply as the conflict raged into its sixth week. Additionally, the onset of winter intensifies the anxiety surrounding the food supply.

Education in Mosul has always struggled against a myriad of obstacles over the past 15 years, and the arrival of the Islamic State has only worsened a shaky situation. Curriculums were overturned, textbooks destroyed and children were soon being indoctrinated with violent dogmas and the use of weapons. Students traveled to class to learn how to build bombs and load guns.

Families are removing children from school to avoid these militarized classrooms, the physical danger of traveling and attending school in a war zone. For those who have fled the city, refugee camps are often lacking in educational materials and teachers.

Despite these challenges, camps around Iraq are continuing their commitments to keeping education alive. In the Hassan Sham camp outside Mosul, teachers are seizing the opportunity to establish regulated learning environments for subjects like Arabic, English and Math.

Despite the surrounding chaos, the teachers’ dedication is matched by their students’ passion for returning to regular classes, thriving in the positive and controlled environment. When NPR correspondent Alice Fordham asked a young boy in the camp how it felt to return to school, he responded with, “The happiest.”

This dedication is not just restricted to the small children of the camp. Reviving education in Mosul is garnering support from many outlets, with organizations like the Iraqi Institution for Development, UNICEF and the Norwegian Refugee Council promising to aid Iraqis in their goal to continue education for their children.

Emily Marshall

Photo: Flickr

Life after ISIS
After more than two years of intense fighting with ISIS, the extremist group seems to finally be getting pushed back. Now, the question of how life after ISIS will be arises. In late June, Iraqi forces retook Fallujah, one of ISIS’s largest captured cities. Now, allied troops are conducting an offensive effort on Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, and Raqqa, the ISIS capital. Of the 10 million people living under ISIS controlled territory at its peak, nearly 4 million have been liberated. U.S. led coalition and Russian air strikes have also helped destroy ISIS’s oil infrastructure, reducing its state revenue from an estimated $2.9 billion to $2.4 billion.

With ISIS clearly on the defense, it is time to begin planning the reconstruction phase, both politically and physically. While the U.S. has spent at least $6.5 billion on the military campaign, it has only contributed $15 million to stabilization efforts. Although Kerry has announced $155 million in additional aid for displaced Iraqis, the U.N., however, is seeking $400 million from the U.S. government and its allies to help rebuild the cities it has damaged.

Besides the need to rebuild infrastructure, government officials will need to address the many internally and externally displaced refugees. There are an estimated 6.6 million refugees internally displaced within Syria, 4.8 million outside of Syria, and 3 million Iraqis within Iraq. Refugees will need basic necessities like food and shelter, but also education and work opportunities for permanent relocation. Externally displaced refugees will need plenty of guidance with cultural adjustment as well.

Perhaps most importantly, in life after ISIS, government officials will also need to create long-term reconstruction plans within the Syrian and Iraqi regions. Because ISIS rose from the power vacuum created by the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2011, U.S. officials should be especially wary and considerate in how it ends this conflict. Answering the question of Kurdish sovereignty is also essential, although the U.S.’s role in that may be diminished. In Syria, there is still the concern over Assad’s rule, which led to the inhumane civil war and indirectly aided ISIS’s quick expansion.

While political installations or overthrows may be the riskiest for the U.S., some have suggested establishing educational institutions as centers for peace. Rather than spreading religion through the caliphate, centralized institutions can educate on Islam bringing different ethnicities together. Though ideal, the reality that another extremist group may take the place of ISIS exists if there is no centralized, robust peace established. There is no better time than now for peaceful reform.

Henry Gao

Photo: Flickr

Mustard Gas
The Islamic State has been using chemical weapons including the poison known as mustard gas on Iraqi and coalition forces, as well as on civilian targets. Human Rights Watch has called on the Iraqi government to respond by warning civilians in conflict zones about the use of chemical agents, isolating contaminated areas and providing treatment for victims of chemical weapon attacks. If the Iraqi government cannot do this, it should seek assistance from other Chemical Weapons Convention member countries.

According to the Pentagon, mustard gas has been stockpiled and used by the Islamic State in the past, and as the battle for Mosul continues, U.S. forces say that they expect to see it used again. The head of the Islamic State’s chemical weapons program has confirmed that the Islamic State has been stockpiling these weapons with the intention of using them in the battle for Mosul. In recent weeks, there have been several reports of chemical attacks in the areas surrounding Mosul.

Mustard gas was first and most famously used as a chemical warfare agent during World War I, and it has been used as a method of psychological warfare as well. Although exposure to mustard gas is rarely fatal, the chemical remains infamous for its invisibility, odorlessness and lack of immediate symptoms.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the effects of mustard gas depend on how much people are exposed to, the length of their exposure and the method of exposure. Exposure can occur through contact with the skin or eyes or by drinking contaminated water or eating the gas in liquid form.

Once exposed, it can take up to 24 hours for symptoms to appear. These symptoms usually include redness and itching of the skin, irritation of the eyes, respiratory tract problems such as shortness of breath, sneezing, a bloody nose, abdominal pain, fever, anemia and bone weakness.

The long-term effects of mustard gas can include second- and third-degree burns, chronic respiratory disease, blindness and cancer. Due to the severity of these symptoms, the use of mustard gas by the Islamic State is extremely concerning.

The World Post reported the story of a 4-year-old girl who was killed by mustard gas deployed by the Islamic State in Taza, Iraq. Her mother was standing beside her when she was killed and suffered severe burns from the gas.

Human Rights Watch has documented several other chemical weapon attacks in late September and early October. These attacks constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. For the safety of civilians and soldiers in Iraq, it is imperative that the government follow the guidelines set by Human Rights Watch and prevent chemical attacks by the Islamic State.

Eva Kennedy

Photo: Flickr