ISIS fighters are capturing civilians and using them as slaves, transporting them enormous distances and separating them from their families forever, according to the testimony of a Yazidi girl in today’s Times.
The 16-year-old girl, called Sama, says that she was held with other girls as young as 11, with her captors saying they would make them “marry Muslim men.”
Sama got lucky, however, and was rescued by an unknown benefactor who ‘bought’ her and then let her go. She is now in Kurdish-controlled territory.
She told of how she was seized by ISIS fighters when they over-ran her village, which she has asked to not be named, near Mount Sinjar last month: “We were sitting inside and we heard gunshots and shouting. ISIS came and got everybody outside.
“They took all of our gold and our cash. My mother had a necklace and $12,000. Then they put women and children in one room and men in the other.”
The following day, they were driven to the nearby town of Sinjar where they were transferred onto buses with women from other villages. They never saw their male relatives again.
Sama said: “We stayed two nights in Tal Afar [a town to the east], then they took us to Badush [a prison north of Mosul].”
After a couple of days, Sama was suddenly moved from the prison ahead of what she believes were air strikes against the complex. She and her fellow prisoners were then reunited with old women back at the town of Tal Afar, before being driven to Mosul which she says is now being used as a slave market.
She said: “It was only the young and beautiful girls in Mosul. On the first morning, a couple of men came in and picked a couple of the girls. Then different men came the next day.”
After three days, Sama was then transported back to Tal Afar and held along with 22 other girls, including her two younger sisters.
She says that the day she was sold, she was called by her name and believed she was about to be killed. She said that she gave advice to the other prisoners: “I told them to look after themselves and I told them, ‘Tell the guards you want your mother. Just tell them you want your mother.'”
However, she and another girl were then met by two men who appeared to be Turkmen. “The old man said: ‘You are my daughters.'”
They were driven to a house on the Syrian border and then left alone, with just a telephone on the table and the door unlocked. The girls called a relative and walked through the night before they were met by Kurdish militia.
Sama got lucky, and is now reunited with her uncle and brothers, but many more Yazidi girls remain in captivity as ISIS brutally sweeps across northern Iraq.