The Islamic State terrorist group is being accused by local government officials of kidnapping over 500 children from the Anbar and Diyala provinces in Iraq, and there is fear that some of the children could be forced to carry out suicide bomb attacks.
Farhan Mohammed, a member of Anbar's Provincial Council, told the Turkish news organization Anadolu Agency on Saturday that the Islamic State abducted approximately 400 children in the Anbar towns of Ar Rutba, Al-Qaim, Anah and Rawa in raids that took place over the course of a week.
Mohammed further added that he believes more children in the area will be recruited to join ISIS and that they could be used to carry out jihadi attacks. more >>
Holding out in one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world, located in Iraq's Northern Ninevah Plains region, three monks and a half dozen students vow to stay put despite the possibility of being overrun by ISIS fighters.
U.S. Today reports that the 1,600 year old St. Matthew's Monastery is constantly under threat and just mere miles from the frontlines in the battle against ISIS. Many of the monks and villagers in the town fled in August of 2014 when ISIS gained more ground in the surrounding area near Mt. Alfaf, Iraq.
"We can see the battles and the airstrikes from here in front of us, especially at night," Yousif Ibrahim said. "The sky lights up at night, but we of course are not scared. God protects us." more >>
Matthew VanDyke, the leader of the Sons of Liberty International, a group that focuses on training and equipping Iraqi Christian militia to combat ISIS, recently discussed the lack of help from outside forces in the region.
He told PRI.org that no one else is helping Christians from Iraq, including the U.S. government.
"They've pretty much been abandoned by the international community," he said. more >>
A Kurdish official has claimed that Islamic State militants have burned an 80-year-old Christian woman alive because she refused to cooperate with the caliphate's strict brand of Shariah law.
Sa'ed Mamuzini, a representative of the Kurdish Democratic Party's office in Mosul, told the Kurdish news organization BasNews on Tuesday that ISIS militants set the unnamed woman on fire in an Assyrian village about 12 miles southeast of Mosul.
Mamuzini explained that he was told of the incident by villagers who witnessed the torturous act. The villagers told Mamuzini that "the woman was killed for failing to comply with the strict laws of the Islamic State." more >>
According to a Kurdish activist who works closely with Iraqis displaced by the Islamic State, ISIS militants allegedly forced a 17-year-old Yazidi girl to recite parts of the Quran while she was being raped. And when she refused, she was punished by having boiling water poured on her.
Twenty-three-year-old Delal Sindy, who is from Sweden, has been working as a humanitarian worker in the Kurdish-protected northern Iraq since October 2014. In a Monday Facebook post that has been shared over 13,000 times, Sindy shared the tragic story of one recently escaped Yazidi refugee girl she met named Suzan, who is now 17, and pregnant after being subjected to ISIS' brutal sexual slavery.
According to Sindy's post, Suzan, her 10-year-old sister and mother were originally taken captive by ISIS and transported to a hotel in Mosul called "The Galaxy," which is essentially a sex slave market filled with half-naked women and girls. The last day Suzan and her sister saw their mother was the day they were sold out of the hotel and shipped to Raqqa, Syria. more >>
After the key Iraqi city of Ramadi recently fell to the Islamic State, an influential New York Times best-selling author wrote a blog post describing the heart wrenching experiences that a group of Iraqi mothers went through to escape ISIS, and in doing so, has helped raise over $500,000 in three days that will assist displaced Iraqi children and families.
Ann Voskamp, who published her best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are in 2011, travelled to Iraq in March and talked with displaced mothers who are now living out of shipping containers since ISIS has taken over their land.
Voskamp, a 41-year-old Christian, learned about the awful experiences and tough choices those mothers had to make in order to flee from their communities to dodge the wrath of ISIS. more >>