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After surviving Daesh, Yazidi women want to go home
February 05, 2019
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DAMASCUS: Among thousands fleeing the crumbling dream of a Daesh group “caliphate” in eastern Syria are alleged extremists but also survivors of some of their worst atrocities.

“I’ll never forget,” 40-year-old Bissa says softly, as she recounts being “bought and sold” by six different extremists.

“We did everything they wanted to do with us. We couldn’t say no,” says the Iraqi woman from the Yazidi religious minority, after fleeing her Daesh captors.

Bissa was one of at least seven Yazidi women and girls to finally escape captivity last week, after years as “sex slaves” at the hands of the extremist group.

Speaking to AFP in territory held by US-backed forces, the women -- and at least one teenager abducted when she was 13 -- say they just want to go home.

“They would sleep with us against our will,” Bissa tells AFP, wearing a dark red headscarf and appearing years beyond her age, her face and hands etched with lines.

More than 36,000 people have fled a crumbling Daesh holdout near the Iraqi border in recent weeks, among them 3,200 alleged extremists.

 But now in territory held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), none perhaps have tales so harrowing as the Yazidi women.

 In 2014, Daesh rampaged across swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq — including the northern Iraqi region of Sinjar, home to a large Yazidi community.

 The Kurdish-speaking Yazidis follow an ancient religion rooted in Zoroastrianism, but Daesh considers them to be “apostates”.

 In Sinjar, Daesh fighters killed the men, forcefully enlisted boys as soldiers and kidnapped more than 6,000 women.

After Bissa was captured, she was “bought and sold” by six different extremists.  She was repeatedly brutalised, but was too scared to escape.

 “They said whoever tried... would be punished by a different man sleeping with her every day,” she says inside an SDF centre near the Omar oil field.

 But 17-year-old Nadine, who extremists kidnapped from Sinjar when she was just 13, says she twice tried to escape.

 Both times the extremist group’s police caught her.

 “They flogged me with a hose. It left marks on my back, and I couldn’t sleep on it,” she says.

 “The second time, they said I couldn’t eat for two days,” she added.

 After they abducted Nadine, Daesh took her across the border to the group’s then de facto Syrian capital of Raqa.

Agence France-Presse

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