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Heartbreaking photos from a rescue mission for the Yazidis trapped on Iraq's Mount Sinjar

Ten days after thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — of Yazidi civilians were first trapped on Mount Sinjar in remote northern Iraq, slowly dying without food or water and besieged by Islamic State (ISIS) militants, a reporter named Jonathan Rugman traveled with a helicopter rescue mission on Monday. The Iraqi military helicopter dropped emergency supplies on Sinjar and ferried off a few Yazidid, with Rugman, a foreign correspondent with the UK's Channel 4, riding along. His tweets and photos from the scene (there is also a video at bottom) are just a glimpse at the Yazidi crisis, but even that shows how dire the situation has become for the many families still trapped on Mount Sinjar.

Here is everything you need to know about the Yazidis and how they came to be trapped on Mount Sinjar. This map below shows Sinjar in Iraq's north, as well as ISIS-controlled territory and the Kurdish region, which the US is launching air strikes to defend.

Iraq_map_revised

Joss Fong