As Islamic State extremists continue their reign of terror through Iraq and Syria, the chaos, violence and persecution forced upon the thousands of people in the region has caused 90 percent of Orthodox Christians in Iraq to flee the sanctity of their homes, according to the Greek Orthodox Bishop for Baghdad, Ghattas Hazim.
Hazim, who is also the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Kuwait and other surrounding areas, said in a recent interview with Al Monitor that he fears for the future of the Orthodox Christian presence in Iraq, Syria, and the whole Mesopotamia region. Citing unspecified statistics, Hazim said that 90 percent of Iraqi Orthodox Christians have been displaced from their homes. He added that only 30 of 600 Orthodox families remain in Baghdad as ISIS' quest to conquer the city continues.
In Mosul, the Islamic State's stronghold in Iraq in the northern Nineveh province, Hazim said only 10 Orthodox families remain, although it's believed that the only Christians left in Mosul are those who could not afford to, or physically, flee. more >>
An Islamic State security official revealed that when ISIS seized the Yazidi religious minority region of Sinjar in northern Iraq in early August, ISIS militants separated virgin girls from the rest of the captured women for the sole purpose of designating them to be given away as sex prizes to ISIS fighters, a group of anti-Islamic State activists reported.
In an interview with the Syrian activist group called "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently" and published to the group's website on Saturday, an unnamed ISIS security official stationed in Raqqa highlighted the militant organization's sex slave practices and revealed that Yazidi virgins were filtered out from Yazidi married women and mothers so that they could be awarded to ISIS fighters who contributed on the front lines for the militant group.
The ISIS source told the activist group that after battles in northern Iraq, the militants gathered all the detained religious minority women and "captured the virgins, without others." The source said the virgins were then dispersed "exclusively" among the ISIS militants who participated in that particular battle in the region where the virgins were captured. The source added that the militants preferred virgins and did not concen themselves over married or pregnant women. more >>
The United States' war on terror group ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been given an official name and dubbed "Operation Inherent Resolve."
"According to CENTCOM officials, the name INHERENT RESOLVE is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community," read a statement by officials with U.S. Central Command, according to The Washington Post.
"It also symbolizes the willingness and dedication of coalition members to work closely with our friends in the region and apply all available dimensions of national power necessary — diplomatic, informational, military, economic — to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL." more >>
Testimonies from two Yazidi female teenagers who have escaped from the tight grip of the Islamic State detail their horrific experiences as ISIS captives. One of the girls, like many other ISIS captives, contemplated suicide before her eventual escape.
Interviews conducted by Globalpost.com earlier this month highlight the experiences of two Yazidi females, one 15-year-old and the other 19, who were captured when the Islamic State took control of the Yazidi region of Sinjar in the Nineveh province in Iraq on Aug. 3.
As the Yazidi Fraternal Organization states that it has registered the names of 12,000 missing Yazidis (7,000 men, 5,000 women) since Aug. 3, these stories provide greater anecdotal insight into the all-too common nature of the human rights abuses facing many religious minorities who are at the mercy of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. more >>
Pictures acquired by the Middle East Review of International Affairs provides visual evidence that the Islamic State terrorist group may have already used Saddam Hussein's leftover chemical weapons on Kurdish fighters.
The pictures were published in a report by the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) on Sunday and includes about 20 photographs of mutilated bodies of Kurdish fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) that could be a result of ISIS's use of chemical weapons in battle that took place on July 12 in the eastern part of the Kobane enclave.
The report was published two days prior to a New York Times report published Tuesday in which interviewees and an intelligence document show that United States and Iraqi troops encountered over 5,000 chemical warheads, aviation bombs and shells in Iraq from 2004 to 2011. The weapons are believed to be left behind from the rule of Saddam Hussein. more >>
The Islamic State terrorist group has released a new propaganda video that details their unusual military training tactics and their modes of spiritual training as they prepare recruits from all over the world to take on the challenges of jihad in Iraq and Syria.
The six-minute video entitled "The Blood of Jihad" shows hundreds of Islamic State recruits going through various self-defense, weapons and religious training exercises at one of the new Islamic State training camps in Nineveh City in northern Iraq. The video also includes hand-to-hand combat training exercises.
The video was posted to YouTube last weekend and has since been removed by the website. An ISIS instructor speaking in the video says in Arabic that the video's purpose is to show the graduation of the first recruits ever trained at that particular military camp. more >>