A Christian who was one of the last to flee his village in the Nineveh Province of northern Iraq before Islamic State jihadists captured it in August claims that ISIS militants are setting up explosives inside of homes so that if residents are ever to return to the village, their houses will explode upon entering.
The testimony of a Christian native named Ayad from Tel Keppe, a village just outside of the city of Mosul, was featured in a recent video interview conducted by the World Council of Churches. Ayad's testimony highlighted the timeline and details the of events that took place as the Islamic State militants captured his town on Aug. 6.
Ayad, who claims to be the last capable person to flee the village, said he eventually fled the town with no shoes on his feet, but emphasized that Christians are eager to return to their homes, as day by day, the Kurdish forces tell refugees what villages they have liberated and are safe to return to. more >>
The woman who became a poster girl of Kurdish resistance in the city of Kobane is actually alive, contrary to rumors spread by members of ISIS, who claimed to have beheaded her.
The woman, who went by the name Rehana, was seen as an image of hope in the city as it fought ISIS forces. An image of her giving the peace sign while dressed for battle went viral, making her an international symbol. Just two days ago, though, ISIS militants claimed to have captured Rehana and killed her by beheading. They sent photos of members holding her head high, alongside the ISIS flag.
Friends of Rehana have come forward to put an end to the rumors and state that Rehana made it out of Kobane and is living in southern Turkey, alive and well. more >>
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 >>