Singled out for genocide by the so-called Islamic State and abandoned by the Iraqi Kurds, young Yazidis on Mount Sinjar in Iraq are flocking to the militias and ideology of a quasi-Marxist group blacklisted as a terrorist organization in the West.

Formed into what they’re calling Sinjar Protection Units, or YBŞ, the Yazidis—both male and female—have sworn to defend their homeland and to avenge ISIS’s campaign of rape, kidnapping, and murder.

It’s been just a year now since the jihadists launched their assault on the Yazidis at the beginning of August 2014. ISIS had taken the second biggest city in Iraq, Mosul, weeks before. But Washington, slow to react, did not begin a bombing campaign to try to stop the group’s offensive until August 7 when President Barack Obama announced the United States would commence airstrikes “to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.”

So began America’s reentry into the complex and baffling war in Iraq and eventually Syria as well.

But the operation failed to save thousands of Yazidi men summarily executed and women sold as jihadist slaves, and this small ethno-religious group regarded as infidels and even devil worshippers by the militants of ISIS is still haunted by the shadows of genocide.

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