Beriva Kassem, 19, was one of the thousands trapped on Mount Sinjar when it was encircled by IS fighters.
"We left Sinjar because of ISIL. The word of ISIL frightens people, especially Yazidi people. We ran away to protect our women, children and our honor. We kept defending ourselves until the last bullet and there were clashes until 3 o’clock around our village.
We, women fled to the mountains in the area of Der Asi at 8.30, but my father and uncles stayed to defend Sinjar. After that we saw Peshmerga forces were withdrawing, we ran away after the Kurdistan and Iraq [governments] left us alone. We did not run away because of ISIL, but also because of Muslims and Arab people in Sinjar who will occupy our houses.
We walked for a long time until we reached the mountain and, because of the rugged area, thousands of women were suffering from lack of water. Then we moved to safer area.
We were able to defend ourselves, but we [women] were afraid of kidnapping [by IS]. We ran away to protect our honor.
We Yazidi people, and our religion are always targeted. They did not attack us randomly, but they meant to commit genocide and crimes against the Yazidi people. We have no future here. We cannot find stability here under tents. We would like to live in an independent and stable state. We fled also to protect the generation of our children. Maybe we can live here for ten years, but our children cannot. Since the time of our ancestors we have been subjected to more than 70 genocides. No, we cannot go back to Iraq. When we fled, our Arab neighbors invited us to their houses, but we told them that we do not have the same honor. If ISIL had not attacked us, then Arabs and other Kurds would have attacked us.
My family has been divided, some fled to Syria and some stayed in Iraq and we traveled long distances and crossed many mountains until we reached here. Also thousands of families have been divided and even pregnant women were staying alone on mountains."