Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Isis continues its reign of terror

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Wednesday 06 August 2014 20:30
A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga looks for Isis activity through binoculars in northern Iraq

While the gaze of the world's media has been focused on Gaza for the past month, the Islamic State, formerly known as Isis, has continued to advance its stranglehold on large swathes of Iraq, Syria, and even on the Lebanese border.

In Iraq:

Women from the stranded Yazidi community (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Between 10,000 and 40,000 people from the Yazidi minority (above) are thought to be stranded on the barren Mount Sinjar, dying from thirst and surrounded by Isis militants.

The ethno-religious group, linked to the Kurds, are thought to have lived in the area for centuries but are considered by the Islamic State to be "devil worshippers and apostates", according to the Washington Post.

Sinjar, Iraq

There is no water, there is no vegetation, they are completely cut off and surrounded by Islamic State. It’s a disaster, a total disaster.

  • Marzio Babille, Unicef

Christians have had to flee their homes in the northern city of Mosul, where they have lived for 1,600 years, after being told by Isis to convert to Islam or be killed.

Other groups, such as the Shabak and Shia Turkmen are also facing severe persecution under the Sunni extremism practised by Isis.

Mosul Dam, under attack from Isis (Picture: AFP/Getty)

Isis have also clashed with Kurdish forces for power of Mosul Dam, the biggest in Iraq - which in turn would allow the militants to control water supplies for large swathes of the country.

In Syria:

Isis militants on the streets of Raqqa, Syria in late July (Picture: Getty)

Isis militants captured and beheaded three tribesmen who took up arms against them in Deir ez-Zor in the east of the country, according to UK-based Syrian Observatory for human rights.

Civil war continues to rage on and it is believed Isis is now in control of 35 per cent of the country.

In Lebanon:

Lebanese troops in Labwe, eastern Lebanon, near the border with Syria (Picture: Reuters/Hassan Abdallah)

Amid five days of fierce fighting on the Lebanon/Syria border, the hillside town of Arsal was briefly occupied by Isis forces.

After reports of civilian executions, government soldiers taken hostage, and at least 12 civilians confirmed dead, Lebanese soldiers managed to surround the town on Wednesday and evacuate refugees, according to Reuters.

The Saudi government has also issued a $1bn aid payment to Lebanon in a bid to stop Isis' advance making an severe impact on a third country in the Middle East, according to the Associated Press.

More: This is what Gaza looks like 28 days after Operation Protective Edge