One year ago, terror group "Islamic State" began a brutal campaign of violence against Iraq's Yazidi minority. Germany's Yazidi community has used the anniversary to demand Turkey do more to stop the militants.
The chairman of Germany's Central Council of Yazidis, Telim Tolan, on Monday accused Turkey of doing little to stop "Islamic State" (IS) militants from recruiting fighters and smuggling weapons from within its borders.
"Turkey knew about that and should have put a stop to it," Tolan told German broadcaster SWR. "(IS) is a scourge, and these barbarians only know one language, and that's the language of violence," he said.
On August 3, 2014, IS made an unexpected advance into areas of northern Iraq that had been under Kurdish control. Of all the minorities living there, the Yazidi Christians were worst hit. Hundreds of people in the Sinjar area were massacred or abducted, while tens of thousands were forced to flee their homes for the mountains. Many remained stranded there for days without food and water, and several thousand remain there still.
The United Nations has described the violence as "an attempt to commit genocide." The onslaught received international media attention and was one of the main justifications for the US-led airstrikes against IS that began days later.
At a ceremony in Dohuk marking one year since the IS attacks, the president of Iraq's Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, vowed to "hunt down those who committed this crime until the last one."
Call for more support
Tolan told SWR it was vital the international community counter IS with airstrikes and provide the Kurds fighting against them with more weapons.
"With this military force that the Kurds have, that the Iraqis have, and that America and the international community have, we could have stopped this terrible campaign by IS a long time ago," he said.
Tolan also called on the German government to provide more humanitarian aid to Yazidi refugees who've been living in camps for the past year, and to open a program for receiving persecuted Yazidis.
According to figures from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Yazidis account for 400,000 of the more than three million people who have been displaced in Iraq since the beginning of 2014.
An estimated 60,000 Yazidis live in Germany, mainly in the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Some local associations planned to mark the August 3 anniversary with rallies in Berlin and Bremen later on Monday.
nm/jil (AFP, AP, KNA, epd, dpa)