When ISIS first starting making headlines in 2014, the depths of their evil wasn’t immediately obvious in the West. Admittedly, they acted like brutal fanatics who quickly gained a reputation for savagery, on and off the battlefield. However, aside from the large territory they had attained, they didn’t seem to stand out from the numerous rebel factions and criminal organizations that inhabited Syria and Iraq.
But after the Sinjar Massacre of the Yazidi people, it became abundantly clear to the world that ISIS was different. These weren’t just opportunistic criminals, nor were they fanatical Islamic revolutionaries or misguided rebels. They were, and are, a manifestation of all the abhorrent behaviors that humans are capable of. They are downright evil, in the strictest sense of the word.
Beginning on August 3rd, 2014, ISIS started attacking Yazidi communities in the Nineveh province after Peshmerga units left the area unannounced in the middle of the night. They managed to force 200,000 people to flee the city of Sinjar, 50,000 of who escaped into the Sinjar mountains where ISIS chased them down. Between 2000 and 5000 people were killed, most of them older men and women. As for the young, the boys they captured were brainwashed into becoming child soldiers, and girls, some as young as 8 or 9, were sold into sexual slavery. And that is just the tamest account of what really happened to these kids.
Eventually US air support intervened, and in conjunction with Kurdish military forces, they routed ISIS and paved the way for these refugees to evacuate. But it was too late for an estimated 7,000 women who had been sold into sexual slavery. Many of these people are still unaccounted for, but about 2000 of them have managed to escape back into Kurdish territory. And they not only yearn to rescue their friends, neighbors, and siblings, many of them want revenge.
Fortunately they now have an outlet for those urges. There is now a battalion within the Peshmerga that consists solely of Yazidi women, many of who were former sex slaves. 123 of them have been engaging ISIS on the battlefield in recent months, and another 500 are still in training. They are currently preparing themselves to help retake the city of Mosul, where an untold number of Yazidi sex slaves and child soldiers still reside.
Khider had no experience with weapons or combat when she approached the Peshmerga senior command and proposed the idea of a specialized all-female Yazidi force after having survived the assault on Mount Sinjar. She hopes that in forming the force, the women will be able to protect themselves and inspire other minority groups to follow suit.
“Our elite force is a model for other women in the region,” she said. “We want to thank all the other countries who help us in this difficult time, we want everyone to take up weapons and know how to protect themselves from the evil.”
The women willfully stepped into the line of fire as a support force to the Peshmerga on Nov. 13, the day the Kurdish forces took back their hometowns and villages from ISIS occupation. The newly formed unit engaged in direct combat and later helped clear streets and buildings rigged with explosives.
As with the Christians, Kurds and Iraqi military, they know the imminent battle to retake Mosul will be the real test. Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul is the terrorist group’s regional base. Most of the Yazidi women who escaped ISIS were held in Mosul and can help provide valuable intelligence, as well as boots on the ground. And fighting to free those left behind provides added motivation.
“We have a lot of our women in Mosul being held as slaves,” Khider said. “Their families are waiting for them. We are waiting for them. The liberation might help bring them home.”
As for why Khider was motivated to form the battalion, the immediate threat of ISIS wasn’t the only thing on her mind. Over the past 1400 years, the Yazidis have been threatened with genocide by their neighbors on 74 separate occasions. She noted that “Whenever a war wages, our women end up as the victims.”
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .