SEATTLE For Sabrin Kassem, Iraq is never far away. On Sunday, she stood at a protest in support of Iraqi Kudistan, trying to hold back tears.
There s not many of us left in this world, Kassem told KING 5 at a protest on Sunday. We cannot let this genocide happen.
Kassem is Yazidi, an ethic group in the northern part of Iraq. This weekend Iraq s human rights minister told Reuters that ISIS radicals have killed at least 500 members of that ethnic minority.
Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said the militants also buried some of their victims alive, including women and children. Some 300 women were kidnapped as slaves, he added. NBC News could not immediately independently confirm his remarks.
At the rally near Seattle s Westlake Center on Sunday, natives like Kassem seemed stunned by news coming out of the region.
It s a nightmare, Kassem said. It breaks our heart. We can t sleep. We re waiting for phone calls from our families. They re calling and begging us to help them. We re trying everything we can.
Other Yazidis shared her passion. Lusik Usoyan, who came to the U.S. 7 years ago, wonders if America s airstrikes will be enough.
If we don t bring our attention right now, we re going to end up really bad, she said. All we want is peace and to be safe. That s it.
Away from the protest, in quiet living rooms across Seattle, the conversation often turns to home for Iraq natives.
We re happy for the United States to take action to stop ISIS from going in, Majid Al-Bahadli said. But there are other cities.
Al-Bahadli was born and raised in Iraq. He spent nearly 5 years in a POW prison in the early 90s before he came to the U.S. as a political refugee in 1995. He s married now with children but what happens in Iraq still hits very close to home.
He, too, wonders if airstrikes will be enough to help Iraqis stop ISIS.
We should support them at least with technology to defend themselves, he said. Gain trust. We need Iraq.