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Syria: Freed Yazidi women and children recount harrowing time in IS captivity05:25

Syria: Freed Yazidi women and children recount harrowing time in IS captivity

Syrian Arab Republic, Siwer and Amuda
March 10, 2019 at 16:27 GMT +00:00 · Published

Freed Yazidi women and children from Iraq recounted their time as prisoners and slaves of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL/ISIS) on Friday and Saturday, after reportedly being rescued by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the final IS-held enclave near Baghouz on Thursday.

Twenty-two-year-old Selwa Seydo and 20-year-old Teysir Sileman Hisen, freed Yazidi women from Iraq’s Sinjar District, recounted their time as IS prisoners while speaking from the Syrian village of al-Suwar, Deir ez-Zor Governorate on Friday.

Seydo shared how she had been captured by IS alongside her mother, sister and brother, before "some Iraqi came to me and said he would take me for himself. I cried, I said I did not want this but there was nothing I could do."

"We stayed in Mosul for around 10 months. When he and his family had issues with IS, IS took me from him and brought me back to Raqqa. I was, of course, a handmaid to them," she added.

Hisen remembered how she was only 14 when IS arrived in her village and "gave us 15 days to become Muslim. They were approaching men and women and telling them to become Muslims."

Hisen went on to recount how one night IS members "put all the girls and women, between seven and 30 years old, on their vehicles and took us to Mosul. After that, they returned and kidnapped all the children."

"They treated me really badly, using me as a handmaid. They beat me when I had nothing to do. They would not give me food, they would not take me to doctor," said Hisen of her captivity under IS. On the prospect of returning to her home after being freed, Hisen said "I will have nobody. No mother, no father, no siblings. Only one sister and she is a captive of IS."

Seydo and Hisen were part of a group of eight Yazidis - five of which children - from Sinjar who were reportedly rescued by SDF in Baghouz on Thursday. Footage shows them being transported by bus from al-Suwar to the Syrian town of Amuda, where a Yazidi safe house is reportedly located.

Mehdi Gazi Mihemed, a former IS child captive from Iraq’s Tal Afar, recounted his experience while speaking from Amuda on Saturday, reminiscing how "I was there in Tal Afar with my family, they took us to a house, then they kidnapped my father. They left me and my mother on a vehicle, then a second car came, they separated us, children, from our mothers and put us inside this car." Mihemed was eventually freed by the head of a school. "He told us 'just run, but don't tell anyone that I've freed you.' He showed us the way to the mountains."

Between Friday, March 1 and Thursday, March 7 at least 30 Yazidis freed from Baghouz were reportedly brought back to Sinjar.

Syria: Freed Yazidi women and children recount harrowing time in IS captivity05:25
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Freed Yazidi women and children from Iraq recounted their time as prisoners and slaves of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIL/ISIS) on Friday and Saturday, after reportedly being rescued by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the final IS-held enclave near Baghouz on Thursday.

Twenty-two-year-old Selwa Seydo and 20-year-old Teysir Sileman Hisen, freed Yazidi women from Iraq’s Sinjar District, recounted their time as IS prisoners while speaking from the Syrian village of al-Suwar, Deir ez-Zor Governorate on Friday.

Seydo shared how she had been captured by IS alongside her mother, sister and brother, before "some Iraqi came to me and said he would take me for himself. I cried, I said I did not want this but there was nothing I could do."

"We stayed in Mosul for around 10 months. When he and his family had issues with IS, IS took me from him and brought me back to Raqqa. I was, of course, a handmaid to them," she added.

Hisen remembered how she was only 14 when IS arrived in her village and "gave us 15 days to become Muslim. They were approaching men and women and telling them to become Muslims."

Hisen went on to recount how one night IS members "put all the girls and women, between seven and 30 years old, on their vehicles and took us to Mosul. After that, they returned and kidnapped all the children."

"They treated me really badly, using me as a handmaid. They beat me when I had nothing to do. They would not give me food, they would not take me to doctor," said Hisen of her captivity under IS. On the prospect of returning to her home after being freed, Hisen said "I will have nobody. No mother, no father, no siblings. Only one sister and she is a captive of IS."

Seydo and Hisen were part of a group of eight Yazidis - five of which children - from Sinjar who were reportedly rescued by SDF in Baghouz on Thursday. Footage shows them being transported by bus from al-Suwar to the Syrian town of Amuda, where a Yazidi safe house is reportedly located.

Mehdi Gazi Mihemed, a former IS child captive from Iraq’s Tal Afar, recounted his experience while speaking from Amuda on Saturday, reminiscing how "I was there in Tal Afar with my family, they took us to a house, then they kidnapped my father. They left me and my mother on a vehicle, then a second car came, they separated us, children, from our mothers and put us inside this car." Mihemed was eventually freed by the head of a school. "He told us 'just run, but don't tell anyone that I've freed you.' He showed us the way to the mountains."

Between Friday, March 1 and Thursday, March 7 at least 30 Yazidis freed from Baghouz were reportedly brought back to Sinjar.