More than 30,000 Iraqi Yazidis, mainly from Sinjar, have crossed into an area of northern Iraq controlled by Kurdish security forces after a week-long journey that took them through Syria.

The harsh conditions of the Sinjar mountain range in mid-summer have taken scores of lives. Children who died of thirst were left behind; some exhausted mothers abandoned living babies, as thousands of Yazidis trekked across a rocky mountain chain in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), crossing into neighbouring Syria, and then looping back into Iraq to reach safety at the Bajid Kandala camp near the Iraq-Syria border.

Other Yazidis have settled in refugee camps in Syria: so desperate is their situation, they have sought safety in a country aflame in a civil war.

yazidi refugees flee Iraq
A Yazidi man and his children, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State, ride a donkey towards the Syrian borderRodi Said/Reuters
yazidi refugees flee Iraq
People covered in dust sit in the boot of a car as they flee the violence in Iraq and make their way towards the Syrian borderRodi Said/Reuters
yazidi refugees flee Iraq
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the Islamic State in Sinjar, ride on a truck towards the Syrian borderRodi Said/Reuters
yazidi refugees flee Iraq
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the Islamic State in Sinjar, walk towards the Syrian borderRodi Said/Reuters
yazidi refugees flee Iraq
An Iraqi Yazidi child, whose family fled their home a week ago when Islamic State (IS) militants attacked the town of Sinjar, looks on at a makeshift shelter in the Kurdish city of Dohuk.Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

The Yazidis who left the Sinjar mountains made the journey to Iraqi Kurdistan, in the fear of kidnap and death at the hands of the Islamic State who has already reportedly killed 500 Yazidi, burying them in mass graves.

Their safe passage, assisted by the YPG Syrian Kurdish rebel faction and US airstrikes, was secured on the northern side of the 60-mile ridge of Mount Sinjar. But thousands are still believed to be trapped on the southern side, unable to reach the safe area.

Islamic State extremists continue their sweep of Iraq, seizing territory. They have already forced the expulsion of Iraqi Christians, Shiite Muslims and adherents of the tiny Shabak faith.

yazidi refugees flee Iraq
Displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community cross the Fishkhabur bridge over the Tigris River into Syria.Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP
yazidi refugees flee Iraq
Displaced Yazidi Iraqis cross the Iraqi-Syrian border along the Fishkhabur bridge over the Tigris River.Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP
yazidi refugees flee Iraq
Members of the Kurdish Red Cresent help a woman in a wheelchair near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh.Rodi Said/Reuters
yazidi refugees flee Iraq
A child rests near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh.Rodi Said/Reuters
yazidi refugees flee Iraq
Children who fled from the violence in the province of Nineveh arrive in Sulaimaniya province, near the border with Iran.Reuters