UN BAJID KANDALA REFUGEE CAMP, Northern Iraq — It looks like a scene out of the Bible — a modern-day exodus.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis made the 100-mile trek from Mt. Sinjar all the way to the United Nations refugee camp on the northern border.
For some, it was a two-, three- or even four-day journey. Most of them came with just the clothes on their back.
Out of the multitude, each one has a story.
When ISIS, the Islamic State, attacked Sinjar, home to most of the Yazidis, Guli Udayda — a name that means “God giveth” — said it felt like the end of the world.
“When they [ISIS terrorists] came, they caught some people and kidnapped beautiful girls and took them away,” Udayda told CBN News. “We escaped. The ones that stayed ISIS killed.”
When they reached Mt. Sinjar, her son went back for food. ISIS captured him, shot him, gouged out his eyes, and beheaded him. His friend buried him.
The long mountain trek had its own horrors. Fluce Khadr Anun used a cap from a medicine bottle to keep her children alive.
“I gave my children a drop of water every hour. The water was very far away,” Anun told CBN News.
The Yazidis who escaped from Mount Sinjar walked some 100 miles through the desert before reaching a desert road. They crossed the Tigris River and kept walking up the road on the other side till they reached the U.N. camp.
Khadr Anun arrived just one hour before CBN News talked with him.
“We are in a desperate situation,” he said. “We don’t have any hope. We don’t have any salvation. I’m tired and I just want to get some sleep.”
Twelve-year-old boys, like Tasim and Rezyen, saw things that are likely to haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Rezyen remembers the mountain.
“Many kids died on the mountain because there was no water,” Rezyen said. “We escaped from ISIS because they wanted us to convert to Islam or be killed.”
“I was there when ISIS came and shot one girl with a bullet in the head because they told her to convert. She refused and they killed her,” Tasim recalled.
When you go from a home to a refugee camp within days, how do you deal with 120-degree heat while all the time knowing winter is on its way?
“We are sleeping on the ground. The rain is coming and we don’t know what we are going to do. We have no future,” Tasim said.
“Here in the Middle East, the Christians and the Yazidis, they cut us like sheep. There is no mercy for us,” another refugee told CBN News.
The plight of the Yazidis reminded our translator, Ahmed, of when he became a refugee after fleeing from Sadaam Hussein in 1991.
“It’s not easy to explain,” Ahmed said. “You can see, as you see. It’s horrible man.”
In the tent city, life goes on. An elderly woman makes tea for her family. Young children play a game with bottle caps. The U.N. supplies water. It’s a refuge, but not a home.
The war-weary faces of the Yazidis reflect a horrific past, a precarious present, and an uncertain future. Sometimes it spills over and the tears flow. Many of these refugees don’t want to see Iraq anymore.
“We wait for the mercy of God and people like you to be protected from the evil men,” Guli said.
They’re also asking for the United States and the West to help.
“My request for all the believers in America and all over the world in all the church[es] [is] to pray for these people,” Guli said.