DOHUK, Iraq — Extremist fighters swarmed into a besieged Yazidi village Friday and killed or captured dozens of residents, according to Yazidis and Kurdish commanders, offering a reminder that the ancient minority sect is still in danger despite President Barack Obama's conclusion that the risk had passed for a group stranded on Mount Sinjar.
Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria surged into Kocho, south of the town of Sinjar, after a weeklong siege in which the militants demanded that residents convert to Islam or face death, said the reports, which could not be independently verified.
The men were rounded up and executed, while the women were taken to an undisclosed location, said Ziad Sinjar, a Kurdish forces commander based on the edge of Mount Sinjar, citing the accounts of villagers nearby. He put the number of dead at 42 and said 80 women and children had been transported out of the village.
Yazidi activists said at least 80 men were killed and hundreds of women taken away.
The alleged killings came a day after Obama called off plans for a military evacuation of Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar, saying they were no longer at risk. If confirmed, they would constitute the worst single atrocity committed against the Yazidis since the Aug. 3 assault on Sinjar triggered a humanitarian crisis and contributed to the Obama administration's decision to intervene.
Although the airstrikes appear to have helped those trapped on the mountain reach safety, people who did not join the initial exodus are still at risk, Yazidis say.
The Obama administration has said the airstrikes will continue and the United States will send arms directly to Kurdish forces, with the approval of the central government.
On Friday, the effort to arm the Kurds against ISIS received a boost when the European Union gave its blessing to individual European nations to send weapons. It also said it would look for ways to prevent ISIS from benefiting from oil sales.