A helicopter carrying Kurdish aid, as presented in local TV footage, has reached some of the tens of thousands of fleeing Yazidis, stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.
A handful of people were plucked from the crowd and taken on board the aircraft, leaving loved ones behind.
Terrified Iraqi Christians have also had to run for their lives, fleeing to Arbil amid the Islamic State’s threats to butcher unbelievers after capturing the city of Mosul. Many are sheltering in and around a church.
“We are from Mosul, from Hamdaniya,” said one displaced Christian man, Raad Fathel.
“All the Christians in Mosul have fled. There is no one to help us. We are calling on countries to take us in. We don’t want to stay in Iraq anymore. ISIL is looking for the Christians, the Yazidis, the Shabaks and all the sects.”
“We are living in tragic conditions and no-one is opening a door to us,” added fellow Christian Aneta.
“We have no food and nothing to drink. We are displaced people. People are ill – an elderly man died yesterday. I don’t know what else to say,” she added, before breaking down in tears.
Northern Iraq has been one of the most diverse parts of the Middle East for centuries. The jihadists want to redraw the map
amid US warnings of a potential genocide.