SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – According to the UN, dozens of Iraqi and Syrian religious minorities girls and women and children were abducted – possibly as many as 1,000, and were taken away to unknown destinations
Hoping to some shed light on the abuses many Syrian and Iraqi women were facing at the hands of ISIS militants, a number of young women from the Yazidi religious minority shared their stories of forced marriage, slavery and escape, after being abducted by IS fighters from Sinjar in northern Iraq back in August.
All of this stories reflected circumstances reported by the United Nations last month.
In early August, a 15-year old Yazidi girl was among hundreds of women and girls captured by ISIS militants, who seized her hometown Sinjar, killing hundreds of people and sending tens of thousands fleeing for their lives.
The girl, who withheld her name out of fear, is among a number of brave Yazidi girls who have since found safety in northern Iraq, having paid smugglers to help them escape and reunite with survivors of the brutal onslaught.
The militants consider the Yazidis a heretical sect and gave many of them the ultimatum to convert to Islam, flee their homes, or be killed.For weeks, the girl and two of her sisters were shifted from one place to another – first to the village of Tal Afar, where she was kept in the Badosh Prison.
When US airstrikes began around the town, the militants scrambled for cover, and took the 15-year-old and many other girls with them to the group’s biggest stronghold, Mosul, in northern Iraq.When airstrikes crept closer to Mosul, the militants uprooted many of the girls they’d taken into captivity.
“I was sold in Syria,” she said in an interview in the northern Iraqi town of Muquble, her undeveloped body shyly hunched over as she spoke.
“I stayed about five days with my two sisters then one of my sisters was sold and taken to Mosul, and I remained in Syria.”In the Syrian city of Raqqa, the self-declared capital of the group’s so-called Islamic State, she was first married off to a Palestinian man.
“Those who didn’t want to get married were married by force, whether they became a Muslim or not. They insisted on marrying us, even offering to live together then get married.” she says.
She claims she shot him with the help of an Iraqi man so she could escape, running to the one place she knew of in Raqqa.
A Saudi fighter then bought her for 1,000 US dollars and took her to his home as his new wife.”He told me, ‘I’m going to change your name to Abeer, so your mother doesn’t recognise you,'” she said.
“You’ll become Muslim then I will marry you. But I refused to become a Muslim and that’s why I fled.” She realised that it was up to her to escape.
She said she found a powdery narcotic substance in the Saudi man’s home and poured it in tea she served to him and the other fighters living in the house, causing them to sleep heavily.It was her best chance to escape.
She found a man who would drive her to Turkey to meet her brother and a smuggler who would bring them to Iraq.In Turkey, she was united with a number of other Yazidi runaways. The Yazidi community learned of their escape and was able to raise 5,000 US dollars to pay the smugglers for the girls’ safe return to the city of Kirkuk.
The other women who spoke to The AP described difficult conditions, where the militant fighters would deprive them of enough food, water or even a place to sit.
They all reported having seen dozens of other Yazidi women and children including infants in captivity, and they all said that they have relatives who are still missing.