ISIS eliminating religious minorities, needs to be stopped at all cost: White House

18 March 2016

The world must stop the dreaded ISIS terror group at any cost as they have gone too far with committing genocide in areas controlled by them, the US said on Thursday, indicating fresh US action in the region.

"What's happening in Iraq and in Syria is deeply troubling. We see this extremist organisation targeting religious minorities. In their propaganda they're featuring evidence of trying to wipe out these religious minorities," White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday.

Islamic State or Daesh has committed genocide against Christians, Yazidis and Shi'ite Muslims, a finding US officials hope will force US and other nations to bring more resources to help the groups fighting the IS.

"In my judgement, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians and Shi'ite Muslims," US secretary of state John Kerry told reporters. "Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions."

Republicans, who control the US Congress, had pressured the Democratic White House to call the militants' atrocities in Iraq and Syria genocide and the House of Representatives on Monday passed a nonbinding resolution 393-0 labelling them as such.

While US President Barack Obama has often pointed to this deeply troubling affront to persons of faith, political support from the republicans will help him budget support from Congress to help the targeted groups.

"The fact is that Daesh kills Christians because they are Christians. Yazidis because they are Yazidis, Shi'ites because they are Shi'ites," Kerry said.

"The President has ordered military action against IS in Iraq and in Syria. In some cases, there have been military actions that have been ordered specifically to protect religious minorities," Kerry said.

"There certainly is the example of Mount Sinjar, which we have cited here frequently that there were Yazidis who were trapped in it. IS fighters had them cornered, and those IS fighters were vowing to slaughter them," he said.

The ongoing conflict and lack of access to key areas has made it impossible to develop a fully detailed and comprehensive picture of all that IS is doing and all that it has done, he said.

"We have not been able to compile a complete record. I think that's obvious on its face; we don't have access to everywhere. But over the past months, we have conducted a review of the vast amounts of information gathered by the state department, by our intelligence community, by outside groups. And my conclusion is based on that information and on the nature of the acts reported," Kerry said.

Kerry said while the United States has done much to fight the group since 2014, it did not directly answer a question on why it had not done more to prevent genocide. "We're very confident we've done an enormous amount," he told reporters at the state department.

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