US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she now believes the persecution of religious and ethnic groups by Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in the Middle East should be defined as “genocide.”
Clinton, responding to a voter during a campaign event in Berlin, New Hampshire, said she’s been reluctant to use the term in recent months because describing something as ‘genocide’ has broad implications.
But she says evidence now demonstrates that actions by ISIL are “deliberately aimed at destroying” religious minorities in the Middle East in territory controlled by ISIL.
“I think I was asked this a couple months ago, and I said that term carries with it legal import, it is a very important concept and label for behavior that deserves that name,” Clinton said.
“I am now sure we have enough evidence, what is happening is genocide deliberately aimed at destroying lives and wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities,” Clinton said.
In September, over 100 members of Congress put forward a resolution, terming atrocities committed by Daesh against minorities as genocide.
The administration of US President Barack Obama is weighing whether to designate Daesh violence a genocide.
ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have been engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.
Since August 2014, the United States and some of its allies have been conducting airstrikes against what they say are Daesh positions in Iraq. Since last September, some members of the US-led coalition have also been pounding purported Daesh positions inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.