How many Yazidi men, women and children have been massacred by the Islamic State? The short answer is we don’t really know. But suffice it to say that the reports have been disturbing, while at the same time kidnapped Yazidi girls continue to be forced into slavery and unwanted compulsory marriages.
What’s happening to this peaceful group of people is appalling. But the Yazidis are fighting back. Kurdish forces in Syria have already trained "hundreds" of them, according to Reuters, all of whom are now reportedly returning to the battlefield in Iraq:
Kurdish militants have trained hundreds of Yazidi volunteers at several camps inside Syria to fight Islamic State forces in Iraq, a member of the armed Kurdish YPG and a Reuters photographer who visited a training camp said on Sunday.
The photographer spend Saturday at the training camp at the Serimli military base in Qamishli, northeastern Syria on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan, where he saw 55 Yazidis being trained to fight the Islamic State.
Dressed in green military fatigues, young and old men were taught how to use assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades by the Syrian Kurds, sweating in the 40 degree Celsius heat.
"The Yazidi civilians want to stay in Syria because it is safer but the volunteers really want to go back to Iraq to fight," he said by phone.
Incredibly, these newly armed civilians undergo only a few days training before risking their lives fighting ISIS:
In Syria, the Yazidi volunteers train in weapon use and fighting tactics for several days before being sent back to Mount Sinjar to fight, a member from the media office of the Kurdish YPG told Reuters.
"There are several training camps for Yazidi men who have volunteered," Anas Hani said from eastern Syria. "In the past ten days, hundreds have graduated. And we are training more."
ISIS is a highly sophisticated fighting force. But just like the brave, all-women battalion already fighting these murderous jihadists in Iraq, hopefully these Yazidi volunteers will soon start making a difference as well.