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An Iraqi woman and her daughter from the Yazidi community settle under a bridge in Dahuk, 260 miles northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. / Khalid Mohammed, AP

The Yazidis are an ethnically Kurdish religious group who have been caught in the path of Islamic State militants in Iraq.

Members of the sect were among the civilians who had been trapped in Iraq's Sinjar Mountains without food or water.

Limited U.S. airstrikes that President Obama ordered last week have headed off attacks on members of the religious sect.


U.S. forces decided a mission to rescue the Yazidis from the mountains was probably unnecessary, Obama said Thursday. In part because of humanitarian airdrops and airstrikes on Islamic State targets, thousands have been able to flee the remote desert region.

However, a Yazidi leader and United Nations leaders have dispute that the crisis is over, The New York Times reports.

The Yazidi religion includes elements of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam.

According to the State Department, Yazidi leaders say most of the 500,000 to 700,000 Yazidis in Iraq today live in the north. They also live in Syria, Turkey and a few other countries.

The Yazidis were displaced in the 1980s under Saddam Hussein and violence against this group has continued since Hussein's fall, according to the Pew Research Center. Often Yazidis are victims of harassment because they sell alcohol, Pew says.

Follow @JolieLeeDC on Twitter.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Who are the Yazidis in Iraq?

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