The radical militant group Islamic State has reportedly killed as many as 300 Yazidis it has held captive in one of its prison camps located in the northern region of Iraq, the most recent mass killing the group has carried out targeting the sect.
Yazidi member Mahma Khalil said that 25 people were shot, but that toll was updated later to over 300 according to the Yazidi political Progress Party. Khalil said the people fatally shot were at a prison camp close to Tal Afar about 130 kilometers from the border with Syria. It was not clear if the killings had all taken place at only one camp.
The politician said he had spoken to four people who had knowledge of the situation in the camp, though why the killings took place was not known.
Khalil said that the militants have a goal of spreading horror amongst the groups to force them into converting over to Islam. He added that the ones killed in the prison camp include the elderly, men and women. He said he thought there are about 1,400 Yazidis still being held at the prison camp.
Yazidis in the tens of thousands fled last August when the militant group captured Sinjar a town in northern Iraqi, close to the Syrian border. However, hundred were not so lucky and were taken captive, with some women then forced into different forms of slavery.
Close to 50,000 Yazidis of which half are children, fled to mountains outside Sinjar during the siege and some remain there today.
Airstrikes were launched by the U.S. as well as humanitarian drops last August in Iraq, partly in response to the Sinjar Mountain crisis. Since that time, the coalition led by the U.S. has conducted many airstrikes in Iraq to try to destroy IS, which now is in control of one third of both Syria and Iraq.
The militant radical Sunni group looks at Shiite Muslims and Yazidis as apostates that deserve death and demanded that Christians convert to Islam or pay a tax. Hundreds of other members of the Yazidis had been released previously.