Yazidi girls were a primary target for ISIS militants during the ascendance of the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. As ISIS was expanding in 2013 and 2014, its militants would kidnap Yazidi girls for the purpose of using them for their nefarious intentions. Thousands of the girls were brought into sex slavery and had no means of escape until military forces in Iraq and Syria launched liberation operations against ISIS.
A number of Yazidi girl, however, did managed to flee from the clutches of ISIS. One girl recounts how she made numerous attempts to escape and finally managed to reach the town of Hasakah in Syria, close to the Iraqi border. After spending a couple of days in Hasakah she then made her way into the heartlands of SDF-held northern Syria until she reached the regional capital, Kobani. She fortuitously met her sister there.
Another girl tells of how she fled the warplanes that were bombarding Tabqa, a town close to Raqqa city, an area which was under ISIS control before the SDF’s liberation effort. She was saved by the YPG (People’s Protection Units), the predominantly Kurdish military unit under the umbrella of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), which control large parts of northern Syria.
Many of the girls and women who suffered as a result of the ISIS expansion went on to join the women’s wing of the YPG called the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units).
There are several accounts of the experience of Yazidi girls and women living in slavery under ISIS rule. ISIS’ totalitarian and discriminatory ideology viewed Yazidis as a heretic sect that was incompatible with the terrorist group’s vision for its alleged ‘Islamic State’.
Most of northern Syria has now been cleansed of ISIS elements as the SDF liberated the group’s alleged former capital in the country, Raqqa, and eliminated pockets of ISIS militants in Hasakah and Deir ez-Zour among other areas.