Yezidi survivors from Shingal have told Rudaw harrowing tales of women taken as war booty by IS militants.
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – Stories of some 500 Yezidi women taken as war booty by Islamic State (IS/ISIS) militants after the capture of Shingal are now being confirmed by witnesses, some of them helpless about what to do about their lost loved ones.
A Yezidi man who miraculously escaped IS jihadists said he knew three women who were still held captive by militant Islamists, who took over Shingal some 10 days ago.
"The last time I talked to them on the phone was three days ago," said Farman Qado. He quoted one of the women telling him how she was taken: ‘They (the jihadists) came into our room and openly said who was the prettiest or the funniest (to be with)."
Witnesses told Rudaw that more than 500 Yezidi girls and women were abducted by the IS militants, whose fate so far remains unknown.
Karim Rito, 46, a Yezidi resident of Shingal, said he had seen two IS vehicles “full of women.”
"There were seven women in the back of the truck -- five younger women and two who appeared to be above 50. They killed the two older women on the spot in the street and took with them the other women," he told Rudaw.
Rito said that IS militants had abducted more than 500 girls and women from the Yezidi localities of Sheikh Khider, Gir Uzer and Gir Zarkey.
"The ISIS attacked these villages first," he said, "and the residents had no chance of escape." Rito said he feared that most of the women have already been transferred to Syria, Mosul and Baaj.
He told the story of two sisters, Ghalia and Markaz, both locally known for their apparent beauty who were taken away by the militants in the first round of abductions.
"They (the militants) knew about Ghalia and Markaz, because they went to their house directly after entering the village," Rito said. “I’m sure the Arab neighbors had told ISIS about them."
Iraqi human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani was reported as saying that the militants had killed hundreds of Yezidis, burying some alive and taking women as slaves.
In a statement authorizing air strikes on IS positions to stop their advance towards Erbil before the weekend, US President Barack Obama mentioned that “chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women.”
Another Yezidi witness, 22-year-old Farman Qado who was just recently rescued from the Shingal Mountain where he took refuge for the past week with tens and thousands of others, said three female members of his family had been missing.
"Three of my relatives, all women, were not on the mountain. We knew then that they were in ISIS captivity."
Farman said he spoke to the three women on a daily basis until recently.
"We spoke at least four times. They told me they and other women were forced into a car and led to Mosul. They said at least two militants assaulted them (sexually). Then other militants came in and spoke abusively about which one of us they found most beautiful or fun to be with."
Qasim Aata, also rescued from the mountain, said he met a 23-year-old woman in a terrible shape who had asked him to kill her.
"The girl said ‘kill me,’ and when we asked why, she said the militants had raped her and told her to go to the mountain and tell the others what had happened.”