The killings reported by Iraqi Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to Reuters add to a long list of atrocities reportedly committed by the radical group in Iraq and neighboring Syria, where it wants to create a caliphate.
“We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing [their ancient home city of] Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” Sudani said.
“Some of the victims, including women and children were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar,” he added. Some 300 women were kidnapped as slaves, he said.
Yazidis are one of many Iraqi minorities persecuted by the Islamic State, which adheres to a fundamentalist branch of Sunni Islam. The militants offer people living in territories they control to either convert to their faith or face death.
At least 300 Yazidi families in the villages of Koja, Hatimiya, and Qaboshi, which were surrounded by the Islamists, are being forced into converting, witnesses reported on Saturday.
The threat posed by the militant offensive sent an estimated 130,000 of Iraqis, many of them Yazidis,fleeing for their lives. They are seeking refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, where Kurd militias have been battling with the Islamic State for weeks.
According to UN reports, at least 40,000 Yazidis have been stranded in several locations on Mount Sinjar in north of Iraq, where food and water are scarce.
The refugees rely on airdrops for survival and the hardship has already claimed dozens of lives, especial of children.