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Thousands Of Iraqi Yazidis Flee To Syria After Kurds Open Safe Passage

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Kurdish forces rescued 5,000 Yazidis who were stranded on Sinjar Mountain in Northwestern Iraq and had been in danger of dying of thirstAl Jazeera reports.

“I can confirm that we succeeded in reaching the mountains and opening a road for the refugees,” said Halgord Hikmet, a spokesman for Kurdish security forces, according to Al Jazeera.

More from AP:

Thousands of members of a religious minority group under attack by Islamic extremists have fled across the border from Iraq to seek refuge with the Kurds of northeastern Syria, said two Kurdish officials and an activist on Saturday.

Ekrem Hasso and Juan Mohammad told The Associated Press that the Yazidis fled after Kurdish fighters were able to open a safe passage into Syria following clashes with the Islamic State group.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, also said thousands of people have fled from Iraq into Syria but had no exact number.

The U.S. has launched airdrops to aid thousands of Yazidis who have been trapped on a mountaintop near the Syria border for days by the militants.

The extremists have captured hundreds of Yazidi women, according to an Iraqi official, while thousands of other civilians have fled in fear as the militants seized a string of northern Iraqi towns and villages in recent days.

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