The nightmare of an Iraqi girl in an IS lair 0The nightmare of an Iraqi girl in an IS lair 0

Aria chats with CNN reporters in her family’s tent in Khanke refugee camp.

Aria, 15 years old, smiled and invited guests into a tent inside the Khanke refugee camp in northeastern Iraq.

Aria’s parents sat next to their daughter.

The Khanke refugee camp, on the outskirts of the town of Duhok, Iraq, was set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last month for the mass influx of Yazidis fleeing their homes in Mount Sinjar to escape the onslaught.

When asked to tell her story, little Aria nodded, then turned her eyes to her elderly parents and told them to stay away for a while.

Six weeks ago, Aria’s family crammed into their neighbor’s car in the early morning hours.

While on the road, a convoy of vehicles with a black flag passed them.

`Those people asked us to get out of the car. The women and girls were separated from the group of men, including my 19-year-old brother. They only took the girls and forced us into a minivan.`

Horrible scenes

From Sinjar, Aria, her 14-year-old sister-in-law and many other girls were taken 120 km to the IS stronghold of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city captured by radical Islamist fighters in June.

`In Mosul, they tried to make us change our allegiance and beliefs. They told us to read the Quran. Some said they had never been to school so they didn’t know how to read, and I couldn’t understand the Quran.`

Over 3 weeks, Aria stayed there and witnessed many terrible scenes.

`He raped her and I was very scared. Many of my friends were also raped. It’s not easy to talk about this,` Aria said, then looked up and shook her head when asked if she was humiliated.

Shame

Tanya Kareem, director of UNHCR in Duhok, explains that girls like Aria always have difficulty sharing about what happened to them.

`Even if they are released, I don’t think they can talk about the pain they went through. They are traumatized. They come from a society and a culture that doesn’t accept it because it brings too much pain.`

Aria and a friend were then taken by two IS fighters named Abu Hassan and Abu Jaffar to the city of Fallujah in Anbar province, Iraq.

In Aria’s memory, they were `really dirty` with long beards, big and tall bodies, `even men were afraid of them`.

The nightmare of an Iraqi girl in an IS lair

Khanke refugee camp, on the outskirts of the town of Duhok, Iraq.

With this phone, the two secretly called Aria’s uncle.

`Your friend couldn’t go to that house to rescue you. So, my friend and I broke down the door, put on veils and walked about an hour to where they were waiting. We were taken to a safe house.`

When reunited with her family in the Khanke refugee camp, Aria once again had to endure the pain of hearing that her brother was killed the day she was taken away.

Aria thinks her shame eased when she learned what happened to the rest of her friends.

`They raped them because we ran away. It was a punishment. Security was tightened so no one could escape anymore. I have to live with that forever,` Aria tormented.

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By Martin

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