A generator sputters into life and men in farmers’ trousers spray water on muddy tractors as the sun slips from a late summer sky. On this most ordinary of village days in a northern corner of Iraq, 20-year-old Bafrin Shivan Amo perches on a metal cot bed to speak of the most hellish of times.
“They raped me every day, twice or more,” she recounts with remarkable composure. “I was just a child,” she says in her soft steady voice. “I can never forget it.”
A persecuted people has long seen it as their protector.
“Sinjar mountain saved me, and many other Yazidis, four years ago,” says Hade Shingaly as we sit on thin mattresses covered with bright geometric patterns in his family’s elongated tent.
It is perched in a tidy cluster of tarpaulin shacks on a mountain plateau in this remote corner of Iraq.
Ashwaq was only 14 when Islamic State fighters stormed into northern Iraq, including the heartland of the Yazidi people.
Ashwaq, a Yazidi teenager.
They took thousands of women as sex slaves, including Ashwaq – sold for $100 to a man named Abu Humam.
Raped and beaten, she managed to escape three months later and then went to Germany with her mother and one brother.
A few months ago, on the street outside a supermarket, she heard someone call out her name.
“When I was in the camps, I noticed that when UN officials came in to do an assessment, the Yazidi people were not able to tell them the truth about what was happening for fear of retaliation from the country’s leaders.” — Dawood Saleh, Yazidi author and activist.
I’ll call her “Nada,” not her real name.
Nada is a Yazidi woman from Sinjar, Iraq, now age 31. On Aug. 3, 2014, ISIL came for her people. The Kurdish Peshmerga, tasked with protecting them, fled, leaving them helpless. Nada and her two children — a boy, eight months and a girl, two — were separated from her husband and father-in-law, whom she never saw again.
Justin prefers their rapists.
Jano is 14, but yearns to feel like a child again. He wants to hug his mother, whom he hasn’t seen since he was 10 years old, the day Islamic State came to his village.
Jano is not his real name. A Yazidi boy from the village of Kocho, near Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, he was kidnapped, indoctrinated and trained to become a boy soldier by Islamic State, or Isis.
Islamist rebels allied to Turkey accused of destroying temples of those following the non-Islamic sect
The Yazidis, who were recently the target of massacre, rape and sex slavery by Isis, are now facing forcible conversion to Islam under the threat of death from Turkish-backed forces which captured the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on 18 March. Islamist rebel fighters, who are allied to Turkey and have occupied Yazidi villages in the area, have destroyed the temples and places of worship the Kurdish-speaking non-Islamic sect according to local people.
After more than three years, Rita Habib, a 30-year-old Christian woman from the Iraqi city of Mosul, was recently reunited with her blind father in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region. She and her father are the sole survivors of a family whose members, like thousands of Christians and other non-Muslims, was murdered by ISIS in mid-2014. Habib was among hundreds of Christian and Yazidi women and girls abducted at the time and sold into the sex trade. She was one of the lucky ones to be rescued by the Christian advocacy group, the Shlomo Organization for Documentation, which paid ISIS $30,000 for her release.
Thousands of displaced Yazidis in the Sinjar mountains in Northern Iraq are still suffering and afraid, almost four years after Islamic State attacked Yazidi villages.
“The situation of the Yazidis in Iraq is of great concern. It is an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe with still close to 400,000 internally displaced scattered throughout the provinces of northern Iraq,” Lisa Miara, founder of Springs of Hope Foundation, told VOA.
Miara said three-and-a-half years after the Yazidi genocide, some villages are still unreachable and no major effort has been made to enable thousands of Yazidis to restore their lives and businesses.
Muslims tattooed their Yazidi girl slaves.
On 26 September last year, a red pick-up truck pulled into Sharya in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
Inside sat 16-year-old Shaima. As the vehicle drew into the small, dusty village, friends and family crowded around and she fell into their arms.
This was Shaima’s return after more than three years in the captivity of Islamic State, during which she was sold from one fighter to another and moved between their strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
Now her uncle, Khalid Taalo Khudhur al-Ali, had bought her back for the sum of $16,000 (£11,000).
A brave Yazidi woman has told the shocking story of her captivity as a sex slave and her escape from ISIS jihadists.
Farida Abbas Khalaf, 22, was captured by Islamic State soldiers and abused for four months as a sex slave.
The Iraqi student was captured in 2014 when jihadists destroyed her village and killed all of the men, including her father and older brother.
All women and children were captured and brought to the ISIS Caliphate.
Farida says they were abused and she was forced to watch an eight-year-old girl being raped by a soldier in front of her.
As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stormed Iraq and attempted to conquer the country in 2014, its members committed genocide against the Yazidi population, a Kurdish religious minority. Men were systematically executed. Women were captured, forced into sexual slavery and repeatedly raped, beaten, sold and locked away.
What are the long-term psychological effects of the conditions these women endured? Following severe trauma, people may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
15yo Nadi could barely speak when RT crew met her just a few hours after she was bought out after years of slavery for $2,500 – not the highest ransom by far, as ISIS terrorists fetch $10,000 on average for young Yazidi girls.
Nadi is one of thousands of Yazidi girls, captured and then enslaved by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists who would turn the girls – often no older than 10 years – into forced laborers, sex slaves, and send them on suicide missions. With the self-proclaimed IS caliphate crumbling, the slave trade has become a source of income for the retreating militants in need of money to flee the battlefield and resettle in nearby countries.
Those who went into exile have creatively adapted their rituals. Those who stayed have been just as innovative.
BEHZANE, IRAQ—On a recent Friday afternoon, Yezidi musicians led a procession of worshipers toward a newly rebuilt temple on a hillside in northern Iraq. Women burned incense and the congregation threw handfuls of sweets at the flute and drum players. Hundreds of local Yezidis from the town of Behzane, near Mosul, had gathered to reopen one of the temples blown up by ISIS.
WASHINGTON — Members of the Yazidi religious community in Iraq and around the world commemorated the third anniversary Thursday of the massacre of thousands of civilians in their historic homeland, Sinjar, at the hands of Islamic State group militants.
Amid expressions of grief and calls for action by the international community, Yazidi officials said the tragedy their minority group suffered in Iraq in 2014 continues: Thousands who disappeared while IS extremists were in control are still missing, and large numbers of other Yazidis who fled for their lives have not been able to return.
“The IS genocide against our people continues to this day,” said Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament. “We need the international community to support us in starting a new beginning.”