Exhausted and terrorized, many of the Yazidis of northern Iraq who straggled into this Kurdish town after escaping the Islamic State deathtrap of Mount Sinjar recalled the agony of leaving relatives exposed on the mountain.

Dakheel, 64, a shepherd who fled with family members into the rocky gullies above the sheep-grazing areas around Sinjar, left his 95-year-old mother when he set off on a grueling, risky walk to safety.

The Yazidis were just one of the communities fleeing their villages from advancing Islamic State fighters who drove looted armored vehicles and fired machine guns and raised their black flag over towns across northwest Iraq in recent weeks.

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