Salwa Sayed al-Omar spent years as a Yazidi prisoner of Islamic State however she escaped its clutches this week, fleeing its final populated enclave in east Syria together with two Iraqi boys pretending to be her brothers.
Islamic State overran the Yazidi religion’s heartland of Sinjar in northern Iraq in 2014, forcing younger girls into servitude as “wives” for its fighters and massacring males and older girls.
The Yazidis are a non secular sect whose beliefs mix components of a number of historical Center Japanese religions. Islamic State considers them satan worshippers and its assaults on the group have been condemned as a “genocide” by the United Nations.
“They took girls, abused them and killed them,” stated Omar, describing how jihadists purchased and bought their Yazidi captives or handed them round as sexual slaves.
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“A girl was shifted from one man to a different until it was to 1 who had a little bit of mercy… if she was in good situation, she would stick with it. If not, she would get married to keep away from being abused,” she stated.
Omar was ultimately married to a Tajik jihadist.
Because the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) besieged the enclave at Baghouz, some surviving Yazidi girls and kids emerged amongst many hundreds of others fleeing deprivation and bombardment, together with the group’s personal unrepentant supporters.
The SDF is ready to evacuate all civilians from the Baghouz enclave earlier than forcing the remaining jihadists there to give up or storming the tiny space by drive.
Omar escaped together with two Iraqi youngsters, Mustafa and Dia, who had been her neighbors for 2 years as their respective households moved via Syria collectively throughout Islamic State’s lengthy retreat to Baghouz.
As Islamic State’s many enemies superior in opposition to it, the group would transfer its captives from place to position. “They have been hiding us in other places so we couldn’t be seen or helped,” Omar stated.
Their Islamic State captors have been “rigorous” in checking who left, stated the teenage boys, Mustafa and Dia, who stated they’d stayed longer within the enclave to assist Omar go away.
After a month of siege within the tiny pocket at Baghouz, a cluster of hamlets and farmland on the banks of the Euphrates on the Iraqi border, they have been lowered to consuming grass and hiding in holes when there was preventing, they stated.
All of them managed to get away from her “husband” by paying him cash. Many Islamic State fighters remained in Baghouz as they left on Thursday, dug into tunnels below the world, the boys stated.
Talking within the desert outdoors Baghouz, the place individuals who had left the enclave have been searched, questioned and sorted between civilians and fighters, Omar spoke of how she had been captured.
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“They took me from Iraq. They captured us on the street and stated ‘we gained’t do something unhealthy to you, however you could convert to Islam’. We have been afraid to be killed so we transformed,” she stated.
It didn’t save them. After months of seize, the ladies have been break up from the boys, whom she by no means noticed once more. Captured boys aged seven-15 have been taken to be brainwashed and educated as Islamic State fighters, she stated.
She was taken to Raqqa, the group’s Syrian “capital,” which fell to the SDF throughout Islamic State’s yr of huge defeats in 2017, after which down the Euphrates to Baghouz.
“At present I reached the democratic forces they usually stated ‘we are going to allow you to exit of the Islamic State’… and thank God, they helped me and let me out,” she stated.
— Reporting By Reuters TV; further reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo; writing by Angus McDowall in Beirut Enhancing by Gareth Jones