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John Kerry Expects To Find Islamic State Committed Genocide: Sources

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 17/03/2016 Annum Masroor

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will find that the Islamic State militant group has committed genocide against Christians, Yazidis and Shi'ites, sources familiar with matter said on Thursday.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said an announcement was expected later on Thursday.

A genocide determination is not likely to have any practical impact on U.S. policy against the militant group by President Barack Obama, who has bombed the militants but has sought to avoid any large-scale commitment of U.S. troops.

On Wednesday, a State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that "acknowledging that genocide or crimes against humanity have taken place in another country would not necessarily result in any particular legal obligation for the United States."

Islamic State militants have swept through Iraq and Syria in recent years, seizing control of large swathes of territory with an eye toward establishing jihadism in the heart of the Arab world.

Its videos depict violent deaths of people who stand in its way. Opponents have been beheaded, shot dead, blown up with fuses attached to their necks and drowned in cages lowered into swimming pools, with underwater cameras capturing their agony.

U.S. lawmakers urged Kerry last year to make a determination on whether atrocities committed by the militant group against Christians and other religious groups amounted to genocide.

The State Department earlier had predicted it would miss a deadline set for Thursday on this decision.

Republicans, who control the U.S. Congress, have been pressuring the Democratic Obama administration to call the militants' atrocities in Iraq and Syria acts of genocide. This week, one chamber, House of Representatives, passed a resolution labeling the group's violence against religious and ethnic minorities as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A U.S. administration has not made a genocide finding since 2004, when it determined genocide had occurred in Darfur and that the government of Sudan was responsible.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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