The call came in the early hours, the voice muffled, furtive and shaking with fear. ‘If they see me talking to someone they will kill me for sure, maybe kill all of us.’ This was Nisreen, a 17-year-old seized by the vicious Islamic State forces who have swept through Iraq and Syria spreading fear and panic. She told how she was one of 96 Yazidi girls kidnapped when their towns and villages fell to the fanatics.
UK Daily Mail Now these teenagers wait in terror to be sold into slavery or forced into marriage with militant Islamists. I know this exact number because I hear them talking,’ said Nisreen. ‘We are sure they have sold us. We do not fear for our lives but for our dignity as women.’ It was a brave phone call from a desperate woman.
The world has heard the hideous stories of refugees fleeing the jihadists but here, for the first time, was a voice from the other side: from a kidnap victim trapped in IS’s newly-won territory.
The husband of another teenage woman, heavily pregnant, held captive by the IS told me how she would rather the US bombed her prison – with her inside – than be handed out like a piece of property to an extremist fighter. She said: ‘Let those jets come to bomb us and save us from this situation by killing all of us.’ She added death would be a better fate than to ‘be forced off with a strange man.’
These two extraordinary accounts, together with information gathered from numerous first-hand sources in and around Irbil and Dohuk in the past week, reveal for the first time the appalling reality of life for captives held in IS-held Iraq.
Horrifically, we can reveal:
A doctor conducts virginity tests to ensure women are ‘pure’ enough for the jihadists.
lS leaders have sanctioned ‘Jihad al Niqah’, an extreme form of sexual holy war that permits fighters to take any women they want.
Seized women are being handed as gifts to IS fighters, starved into submission and sold off as slaves, while children are stolen to be raised as Muslims and scores of men face conversion or death.
lS guards warning captives they will get four chances to convert. Twice they will be asked politely; the third time they will be whipped with a leather strap; if they still refuse at the fourth time of asking, they face death.
An official with IS’s religious guards confirmed the atrocities.
The detailed evidence comes from captive women talking from their prisons, dozens of desperate families, a leaked United Nations report and activists collating information amid the chaos of Iraqi Kurdistan with 200,000 refugees driven from their homes by militants.
Salem, a 19-year-old handyman, fled into the Sinjar mountains after fighting for four hours against the Islamist militia until their bullets ran out. His wife Hayam was captured, although eight months pregnant, along with his brother and four younger sisters. He had left Hayam with spare batteries for her mobile phone. She called him several times from a centre crammed with kidnapped women and children, saying they are being ‘tortured’ with starvation and too little drink in the searing heat.
The women have been told they will stay in the school until they convert. Salem added: ‘Some children are still there, some have been taken away. They were told the children are being taken away to teach them the laws of Islam. Some are in Syria, some are in Mosul.’
As he told his tragic story, this young man’s distress was palpable; he broke down at one point in tears. His parents are also both missing. He has contacted Kurdish politicians and Yazidi activists to persuade the US to destroy the school holding his wife. ‘They say death is better than to be forced off with a strange man for the rest of your life.’
All those I spoke to were adamant that conversion was not an option. One authoritative source revealed how a teenage captive killed herself when ordered to wash and change clothes for the first time after 12 days in prison, fearing she was being married off.
‘Every day we do not liberate these girls and women means we lose some more to IS,’ said Narin Shammo, a Yazidi journalist, who has been using social media to try to establish the number of captives. In one day alone, she received 657 possible new cases.
Lurid rumours are circulating of enforced cannibalism, of mass rape, of mothers made to set themselves on fire. And internal UN documents from their mission in Iraq quote reports that IS ‘elements’ killed ‘well over 500 Yazidi individuals’ in retaliation for the first US air strikes last week, according to a source there.
Alarmingly the UN also believes Kurdish Peshmerga forces are being ‘overwhelmed on numerous fronts’ by IS, which has more troops and better equipment. The abuse and atrocities were confirmed quite happily by the IS official enforcing extreme Islamic rules in Telafar prison when we spoke on Thursday night.
Obaida, an Iraqi from Mosul, insisted his religious laws permitted the kidnap and sale of women. He said: ‘If they convert to Islam they can go back to their homes and we will protect their dignity and safety. ‘But if they resist or turn to atheism they will be like slaves and will be judged and traded according to our laws towards slaves.
‘Selling is according to sharia because they are slaves. But we have not sold anyone yet.’ Obaida claimed some Yazidi had converted, but could only get their wives back if they too agreed to become Muslims. ‘It is not possible in Islam to f*** atheist women.’
He said the captured children were ‘safe’, although added chillingly they would be brought up under their ‘essentials’ of Islam. ‘Then we will release them and provide for them for a proper life.’
This polite bigot said the Yazidi were singled out for special treatment because unlike Jews and Christians, ‘they are not people of the book’. He said IS would fight until they all converted to Islam as part of their mission to drive non-Muslims from their Caliphate.