3 Profiles of ISIS Escapees



Hannah, 15yrs old

  • Captured by ISIS 2014 (aged 11)

  • Escaped Captivity in September 2017

  • Lives in a Sharia refugee camp with her brother, and goes to school

  • 7 brothers and 1 sister are still missing

Life before Isis was really fun. I was happy with my family. I went to school and had great friends. Only some of them are with me now. I’ve lost many friends too. I used to go to parties and weddings. It was really fun.

We knew ISIS was coming in 2014. We tried to run to the mountain, but we didn’t make it. We got captured.

After ISIS took me I saw a lot. I’ve been beaten. I’ve been raped. I saw people get killed in front of me. ISIS used to get a whip and use it on us. I saw a lot and I suffered a lot. My feelings wer worse than anything you can imagine. I missed my family. I was the only one there and they didn’t let me speak to my family.

On the liberation of Tal Afar (September 1st, 2017), I got the chance to run away. I saw another family running and I just ran with them too. We got to a safe place and I called my brother. I always memorised his number.

Today I had a lot of fun, I didn’t have this opportunity when I was in ISIS’s hands. After 3 years I finally had the chance to shop again. It was fun to shop with my friends and Khalsa Aid.

When I was in ISIS’s hands, all I had to wear was black from my shoes to my head. And they would bring it home to me. But today I had the opportunity to go shopping again and choose from all colours!”.

Layla, 32yrs old

  • Captured by ISIS 8 July, 2014

  • Escaped captivity January 2017

  • Shopped for fabric to support a new sewing business

  • Khalsa Aid provided her first sewing machine in 2016

  • Husband and 3 sons are still missing

I had a family of 5. It was me, my husband and 4 children. When ISIS attacked Wadiya, we escaped to the mountain. But then captured. It was all of us. We were taken to Tal Afar for 8 months, then a month in Mosul.

They took my husband and sons to the mosque one day. Me and my daughter were taken to Syria for exactly 4 months and 18 days. We contacted my relatives when we were there, but found out they were charging $30,000 for our release.

In Syria we were in a room full of women. We didn’t have more than one meal a day and this was only rice, or bread with eggs, nothing else any day. After one month in Syria a man bought us to be his slaves.

When I was a slave I cleaned this man’s house. He had a wife and 2 children. But his wife got jealous and she refused it – she told him to sell me in Aleppo.

I remember being sold but I don’t know if it was a market. We had our eyes covered. So many men came and took my blindfold off to check my eyes. Then they checked papers with my name and the phone number to buy me.

I was bought by a man. He had a wife too, but she was not there. He bought two of us and I was forced to marry him too. He rented a house. The other woman was Muslim.

ISIS ended up selling me for the $30,000 in the end. My family got the money together. I got back to Kurdistan one year ago. I still don’t know where my husband is, but I know my young boys were brainwashed and joined the militants.

[Layla attempted suicide with her daughter before her return, then found out that Baba Sheikh, Yazidi religious leader, accepted her and other escapees back to the community.]

Shopping for fabric made me feel good because I can sew as work. My husband is still captured, so I can work and support my family. Today is a great opportunity

Hadia, 18 years old

  • Captured by ISIS in 2014 along with her village Khatonia

  • Escaped captivity within one day

  • Lives in Sharia, in a makeshift camp

  • 6 sisters and 4 brothers

My father was disabled since 2007 because of an explosion. But he had a great supermarket we used to work at and it was good times. Every year we would try to change what we sold to what was popular then. It was fun. One of my best memories is that whenever my mother or sisters would sew something, I would look at it and sew the same for my dolls.

I was about 14 years old when my village was captured by daesh. We tried to move to another village and escape to the mountain but were held. We did finally escape but had to survive with no food or water for 7 days. We shared a lid-full of water between our family of 12 people. I felt like I would not survive. My mother even ran out of baby milk for my baby sister.

We were taken to a hospital in Syria by the PKK. We stayed there. Someone donated us a room but my father soon died. We ended up working in a potato farm for $4 per day to help pay for things. Including the operation that was needed. But he died.

We moved to Sharia soon because the last place was overlooking my father’s grave and we could not cope. We moved to land and bought material to build this place. We got some help from Khalsa Aid because our friend contacted them and said we need help. We got food right away every month.

One day they saw a dress I made by hand, and liked it. They knew I needed a sewing machine right away. Khalsa Aid changed my life. Khalsa Aid saved my family’s life.

My health improved after sewing. I was not ok mentally but the sewing machine made my thoughts better, I could focus on sewing.

The future I want a proper shop. This is just my house and nobody can see my work much. I pay my brother to sell clothes too. I provide for my family. I want a proper shop and to do more fashion designs.

The shopping means I don’t just use my fabric I buy to make things, but I can save part of the sales to invest into my shop too. I want to grow”.

#Issue14 #HayleySmith #Interview

7 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All