JEDDAH/ BEIRUT: The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council strongly condemned Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria and their extreme interpretation of Islam as it opened a meeting in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
"We denounce vehemently the practices of those who use Islam as a pretext to kill and displace en masse Iraqis and Syrians," Kuwait foreign minister Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah said in Jeddah.
He added that the regional body, consisting of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman supported a UN Security Council resolution earlier this month aimed at weakening the jihadists.
IS has declared an Islamic "caliphate" in large swathes of territory under its control in Iraq and Syria.
The resolution in mid-August called "on all member states to take national measures to suppress the flow of foreign terrorist fighters", and threatens sanctions against anyone involved in their recruitment.
The minister from Kuwait, which holds the rotating GCC's presidency, also said the body welcomed a ceasefire on Tuesday that ended a deadly 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Al-Sabah called for "international protection for the Palestinian people" and a lifting of Israel's blockade of Gaza, as well as reconstruction in the devastated territory.
He also made a plea for the resumption of a lasting peace settlement to "establish a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital based on the 1967 borders".
Al-Sabah said the GCC should overcome its internal differences, a reference to Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Manama earlier this year withdrawing their ambassadors from Doha over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood. They accuse Qatar of interfering in their affairs by supporting the Islamist movement. Dozens of Yazidi women 'sold into marriage' by jihadists
Several dozen Yazidi women kidnapped by Islamic State jihadists in Iraq have been taken to Syria, forced to convert and sold into marriage to militants, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based NGO, said it had confirmed that at least 27 Yazidi women had been sold for around US$ 1,000 each to IS fighters.
The group said it was aware that some 300 Yazidi women had been kidnapped and transported to Syria by the jihadists, but it had so far documented the sale into marriage of 27 A refugee woman from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, sits with a child inside a tent at Nowruz refugee camp in Qamishli. (Reuters Photo)
"In recent weeks, some 300 women and girls of the Yazidi faith who were abducted in Iraq have been distributed as spoils of war to fighters from the Islamic State," a statement said.
The group said it had documented several cases in which the fighters then sold the women as brides for USD 1,000 each to other IS members after forcing them to convert to Islam.
"The Observatory documented at least 27 cases of those being sold into marriage by Islamic State members in the northeast of Aleppo province, and parts of Raqa and Hassakeh province," the NGO said.
It added that some Syrian Arabs and Kurds had tried to buy some of the women in a bid to set them free, but they were only being sold to IS members.
The Observatory said it was unclear what had happened to the rest of the 300 women, and strongly denounced the "sale of these women who are being treated as though they are objects to buy and sell."
Both UN officials and Yazidis fleeing IS advances in Iraq have said fighters kidnapped women to be sold into forced marriages.
UN religious right monitor Heiner Beilefeldt warned earlier this month of reports of women being executed and kidnapped by IS militants.
"We have reports of women being executed and unverified reports that strongly suggest that hundreds of women and children have been kidnapped — many of the teenagers have been sexually assaulted, and women have been assigned or sold to 'IS' fighters," she said.
Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking minority who follow an ancient faith rooted in Zoroastrianism, are dubbed "devil worshippers" by IS militants because of their unorthodox blend of beliefs and practices.
The IS emerged from the one-time Iraqi affiliate of al-Qaida but has since broken with that group and espouses an interpretation of Islam that has been widely rejected.