A Chechen ISIL militant ‘cleaned’ 19-year-old Dalia with petrol before raping her… Daily Hürriyet interviews ISIL’s Yazidi sex slaves in three refugee camps in northern Iraq, publishing their harrowing accounts.
Dalia: Sold seven times
They were kidnapped, sold as sex slaves and raped for months at the hands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.
Hundreds of them managed to reach safety in the territory of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), either by escaping from ISIL by themselves or by the help of their relatives who paid a ransom.
We met the Yazidi women and girls in the Baadre, Shariya and Kepertu refugee camps in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk, listening to their immensely disturbing accounts of abuse in captivity
Dalia is a high school student from the Herdan village on Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq. She was only 19 years old when she finally escaped from ISIL on April 4.
She hardly speaks now, often with tearful eyes and with long periods of silence between difficult phrases that describe not only brutality, but also everything that is against humanity.
Dalia was abused, raped and tortured during nine months in captivity. She was sold and bought seven times by different militants.
School turns into slave market
“On Aug. 3, 2014, we woke up to see ISIL militants raiding our village. Everyone was trying to escape, but they caught us,” she said.
Here is the rest of her account:
“They gathered us in the village square. ‘You will either convert to Islam or you will die,’ they said. We agreed to convert out of fear. But anyway, they took all the village’s men away and we never heard of them again.
“They sorted the young women from the old. They brought the young women and children to Tel Afar [a northern Iraqi city]. And then they took away the children who were older than 5, including my brother. They imprisoned us at a school in Tel Afar. It was like a slave market. ISIL’s amirs, including Turks, Germans and Chechens, came each day and bought one of us. There were 12- to 13-year-old girls.
Concubines as gift
“A Turkmen ISIL militant from Tel Afar brought me to his home, where his wife and three children were also living. I stayed with him for five months. One day, an ISIL amir named Abu Mustafa forcibly took me from there and presented me as a gift to another amir named Aymen, who was Chechen.
“Before raping me, Aymen pulled my hair and forced my head into a bucket full of petrol. ‘You are so dirty, this is how we clean you,’ he said. Then he imprisoned me in his house and raped me for three days.
“Then I was exchanged with another Yazidi girl, who was made a concubine by Abu Salih. He raped me one night and then sent me back to Aymen. After 10 days, Abu Mustafa returned and bought me back, telling Aymen that I had been given as a gift as a concubine, not to be exchanged.
“I stayed at Abu Mustafa’s house for a month. Then he sold me to a man from Mosul named Izam. He was taking me at nights, raping me before bringing me back to my mother the following morning. I was going with him each night, crying.”
ISIL’s rules of enslaving
“After a month, he also sold me. I stayed with another man from Mosul until he got bored of me. Then an ISIL doctor in Tel Afar bought me, who treated me like Izam.
“One day I resisted him at the risk of being murdered. The ISIL leader in the village heard about it and told the doctor that Yazidi girls can ‘only be owned by one person, and cannot be sold every day.’
“Then he sold me to an Arab from Kirkuk, who later revealed to me that he bought me not to rape me, but to free me in Kurdistan. With him, I went to Karbala, then to Baghdad and finally to Zakho, where he handed me over to the Kurdish police.
“My father was working in Zakho. He came to pick me up from the police station. When I saw him again, I thought I was flying. He started to cry. I was so happy that I almost forgot about everything I experienced.”
Leyla: From Iraq to Syria
Leyla, 20, was captured by ISIL when militants raided the Kocho village on Sinjar Mountain on Aug. 15, 2014. Since then, her mother, two sisters and brother have been ISIL’s captives. Her father, on the other hand, is still missing.
“They carried away all the village’s men with trucks,” Leyla said in her account.
Although her account resembles Dalia’s story on the main aspects of ISIL’s tactics, like separating and possibly killing all Yazidi men while taking women and children to schools converted into slave markets, its details show how torment and torture at the hands of ISIL varied for each girl and woman.
“They kept us in an empty building in Mosul for two days. Then they brought us to Raqqa,” Dalia said, referring to ISIL’s self-declared capital in northern Syria.
Here is the rest of her account:
“ISIL militants were coming every day to pick three or four girls they liked. One day they bought my sisters and brought them to Mosul. Then, an ISIL militant bought me and another girl before taking us to the Iraqi town of Husaybah, which is a six-hour drive away.
“He locked us in a house in Husaybah, then sold us to another ISIL militant. He took me back to Syria, to Aleppo. For four days, he raped me while I was handcuffed. Then he sold me to an Egyptian militant.
“The Egyptian brought me to Raqqa, imprisoned me and raped me for eight months. I begged him so many times, but he ignored me. ‘It is the caliph’s [ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s] order,’ he said in reply.
“I thought of committing suicide many times, but I decided not to do it because then my family would not be able to find my corpse. One day, when he was away, I used the home phone to call my uncle, who had a friend in Raqqa. He promised me to help. I escaped and met him at an Internet cafe. Then he took me to Turkey with his motorcycle. We crossed the border illegally and I met my uncle in a restaurant in [the southeastern Turkish city of] Şanlıurfa. I burst into tears when I saw him.”
Selma: Giving birth in captivity
When we met Selma, 26, she had liberated from ISIL just 12 days previously. She has a 4-year-old son and a 6-month-old daughter, who was born when the mother was still a captive in the house of an ISIL militant.
Here is her account:
“After they raided our village in Sinjar, they took me to the city of Tal Afar with the other Yazidi women. My son was with me. They kept us in prison for one month, then they transported us to Raqqa in Syria. They put us together with some 500 women in the top floor of a building. Then ISIL militants came over and started to buy us one by one. One of them bought me with my son and took us to his home. My daughter was born there. Then he sold us to an ISIL militant for 2,600 dollars, who would later sell us to another man from Aleppo for 4,000 dollars. I found a mobile phone in his house and called my husband secretly. Then my husband paid him 20,000 dollars to take me back. My children and I fled to Turkey first, then we went to Zakho via Şanlıurfa.”
Bahar treated as ‘property’
Bahar, 15, was kept as a slave together with her cousins Hadiya, 24, and Nawin, 19, in the house of a married ISIL militant from Saudi Arabia.
“He would beat all of us every day, and he would sexually abuse us at night. His wife said, ‘I would help you if I could,’ but she couldn’t do anything either. ‘We founded the caliphate in order to spread Islam, so you have to convert to Islam,’ he said. We agreed to convert because we didn’t want to die. But still nothing changed in his behaviour. He kept saying ‘Yazidis are infidels, you are our property.’
“We tried to escape a couple of times, but we couldn’t succeed. One day he came over and said, ‘I am leaving to Kobane for jihad.’ And he left us at the house of another ISIL militant. He also kept another Yazidi girl at home.
“This girl’s uncle called someone that he knew in Raqqa. ‘I paid him, so he is going to help you to escape,’ her uncle said. We called the guy, and he told us to meet at the square in Raqqa at 1 p.m. He took us by taxi and brought us to the Turkish border. We crossed the border and went to Gaziantep with the help of a Kurdish person from Diyarbakır. Then we went to Zakho through the Halil İbrahim Border Gate in Cizre.”
Rudeyna’s family taken hostage
One of the 216 Yazidi hostages that ISIL released a few weeks ago was 10-year-old Rudeyna, who was kidnapped and kept by ISIL for nine months.
“They tortured and beheaded people in front of this poor child, she is highly traumatized,” her aunt told us before we start talking to Rudeyna.
“It was as if she was insane when she first arrived, yelling and crying all the time. She still sees nightmares every night. She starts crying whenever she sees a bearded man,” the aunt added.
After Rudeyna agreed to talk to us, we went inside the tent in which they have been staying with her aunt in the Kepertu refugee camp:
“I was so scared when they [ISIL] attacked our village last August. We hid inside a room with my mother, but they caught us. They started shooting randomly and killed our neighbours before our eyes. They captured all of my family that day, they took all of us to different places. They also took my brothers and sisters. I haven’t seen my mother and father since that day…”
Most vicious people on Earth
ISIL militants separated Rudeyna from her parents and took her to Mosul with her grandmother.
“They put us in a school with many other Yazidi women. A couple of days later, they came and took all the young girls,” Rudeyna added. “They told us we would never be able to see our families again. They tortured the women who tried to resist. They also did bad things to me. They are the most vicious people on Earth.”