The United States declared Thursday that the Islamic State group's slaughter of Christians, Yazidis and Shiites amounts to a genocide and vowed to halt it.
Secretary of State John Kerry made the proclamation after Congress demanded Washington recognize that the group seeks to exterminate religious minorities.
"Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions, in what it says, what it believes and what it does," Kerry declared.
"Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other minorities," he added.
The Islamic State group has regularly carried out mass killings of Shiite Muslims, Christians and Yazidis. In June 2014 it seized the formerly cosmopolitan city of Mosul in northern Iraq, placing whole communities under threat of murder, rape or enslavement.