The Islamic State (IS) armed group is carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, targeting religious and ethnic minorites with mass killings and abductions, Amnesty International says.  

In a report released on Tuesday, the global rights body said systematic violence in Iraq had increased to a historic scale.

"The massacres and abductions being carried out by the Islamic State provide harrowing new evidence that a wave of ethnic cleansing against minorities is sweeping across northern Iraq," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser currently in northern in Iraq. 

"The massacres and abductions being carried out by the Islamic State provide harrowing new evidence that a wave of ethnic cleansing against minorities is sweeping across northern Iraq.

- Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser 

Several of the mass killings reportedly took place in Sinjar in August with two of the deadliest incidents taking place in the villages of Qiniyeh and Kocho. 

One survivor, Said, narrowly escaped with his brother, Khaled, who was shot five times.

In total, they lost seven brothers in the massacre.

Another survivor, Salem, hid and stayed near the massacre site for 12 days and provided an account of events after fighters killed several people. 

"Some could not move and could not save themselves; they lay there in agony waiting to die. They died a horrible death. I managed to drag myself away and was saved by a Muslim neighbour," he said. 

"The Islamic State is carrying out despicable crimes and has transformed rural areas of Sinjar into blood-soaked killing fields in its brutal campaign to obliterate all trace of non- Arabs and non-Sunni Muslims." Rovera said. 

The mass killings and abductions have succeeded in causing panic among minorities in northern Iraq, leading thousands to flee in fear for their lives, the Amnesty report said.

Source: Agencies