They put fences and walls around them, and made them into prison camps. ISIS, or the Islamic State, has used villages that were earlier emptied when their frightened inhabitants fled the Islamic radicals to imprison hundreds of Yezidi women and children.
Photographs do not exist of this latest disclosure of ISIS practices, but families who escaped from the camps are able to testify about their presence and locations. A portion of the hundreds of children that ISIS kidnapped are also living in those camps.
Habib Khalesh Jazai, 14, and Faraz Hashem Jazai, 12, are two cousins who recently escaped. They are now living in a house in the Kurdish Yezidi village of Khanke, provided for them by the authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan.
There was no food or water, the boys recall about the camp where they were forced to spend a couple of months in the heat of the Iraqi summer. “We all had fleas and everybody was smelling so badly,” says Faraz, as he scratches himself in disgust.
The boys were with the women and children ISIS kidnapped in August 2014 from the Yezidi village of Kocho, after killing all of its men and leaving them in a nearby ditch. “ Daesh said they would take us to the mountains, but they lied,” says Habib, using the local acronym for the group.
Women and children were separated, and the cousins eventually ended up with some 45 others in a school in Talafar, a town near the self-proclaimed ISIS capital of Mosul. There, they stayed for 17 days, with very little food and being awakened at the first call for prayer every morning to learn the Quran.