Around 7,000 Yazidi women were captured by ISIS in August after their ancestral home of Sinjar was overrun by fighters, and have since been sold into slavery or forced into marriage (file image)
Two Yazidi sisters held captive by ISIS have told of how they tried to kill each other when they realised they were going to be sold as wives to terrorist fighters.
Wafa, 27, and her sister, who has not been identified, were captured along with hundreds of other Yazidi women when the town on Sinjar fell into ISIS hands in August.
Fearing they would be forced to marry or sold to another captor, they tried to strangle each other late at night and only stopped after other girls they were with woke up and separated them.
Wafa said: 'The man who was holding us said that either we marry him and his brother or he would sell us. At night we tried to strangle ourselves.
'Two girls who were held with us woke up and stopped us and then stayed awake to watch over us.
'When they fell asleep at 5am we tried again, and again they woke up and stopped us. I could not speak for several days after that. '
The shocking account has been revealed in a new report by Amnesty International that has found Yazidi girls as young as 12 are being raped, sold and forced into marriage by their captors.
Many girls will attempt to commit suicide in order to escape the horrendous conditions they are kept in, according to the charity, with terrorists threatening to kill their families if they take their own life.
A 20-year-old woman named Luna recalled how another woman named Jilan killed herself after fearing she was about to be forced into a marriage
Luna said: 'We were 21 girls in one room, two of them were very young, 10-12 years old.
'One day we were given clothes that looked like dance costumes and were told to bathe and wear those clothes. Jilan killed herself in the bathroom.
'She cut her wrists and hanged herself. She was very beautiful. I think she knew that she was going to be taken away by a man and that is why she killed herself. '
ISIS fighters seized thousands of Yazidi prisoners on August 3 this year after their ancestral home, the town of Sinjar, was overrun.
The terrorists then began a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Yazidis, who they believe to be devil-worshippers.
According to UN figures around 5,000 men were gathered together and executed, while 7,000 women were taken and sold as slaves, forced into marriage, and raped.
Incredibly many escaped captives have given accounts of fighters taking them back to their houses to live with their wives and children.
Fawziya, 18, recalled being given to a 30-year-old man from Mosul, in north-west Iraq.
She said: 'His family did not agree with what [ISIS] did to the Yazidi girls but did not do anything to stop it. I was put in a room with his wife, she was also from Mosul, was young and very nice to me.
'She has two young children, a boy and a girl, with him. His parents did not interfere, but they said that if I did not convert to Islam he should give me away or sell me, and get a Muslim wife instead. '
Another recalled the husband's wife crying in sympathy with her over the way she had been treated, but saying that she was powerless to help.
Despite living by a strict religious code, Islamic state fighters are allowed to take and have sex with Yazidi women because they view them as little more than property to be used.
According to an online question and answer believed to have been posted by Islamic State officials, a man may have sex with a Yazidi virgin 'immediately after taking possession of her', but if she is not a virgin 'her uterus must be purified first' - though it does not explain what this entails.
Previous reports have suggested that British jihadis, including women, were among those running brothels in the de-facto ISIS capital of Raqqa which were filled with Yazidi women.
Former public schoolgirl Aqsa Mahmood, 20, from Glasgow, is known to have been in Raqqa helping to organise religious patrols, while Manchester twins Salma and Zahra Halane, 16, are also thought to have been there.
Since Sinjar was overrun in August, around 300 Yazidi women have managed to escape captivity. Amnesty spoke with 42 of them, and managed to call four who are still being held by ISIS.
Among that group accounts of beatings were common, often after girls tried to resist being handed over to ISIS fighters as slaves or wives.
Several anonymous accounts detail women being beaten unconscious by the men, who were mostly Iraqi or Syrian, before being dragged away by their hair.
One girl named Arwa, 15, said she was taken along with her 13-year-old cousin to a village near Sinjar, where she was captured, before being given to an Iraqi man.
She said: 'We were held in a house with five other girls. There they did to me what they did to many other girls. I was raped.
'My cousin was not molested; they wanted to take her to marry her to a man but in the end they left her with us and then we managed to escape. The others were raped.
Previous reports suggested British jihadis were helping run brothels for ISIS filled with Yazidi women in Raqqa, a city where Glaswegian Aqsa Mahmood (pictured) is known to have gone
'The men were all Iraqis. They said that if we killed ourselves they would kill our relatives. '
Despite being free from her captors, 61 of Arwa's relatives are still in the hands of ISIS, while it is not known whether many of them are alive or dead.
A spokesman for Amnesty said: 'Despite worldwide condemnation, the IS has shown no intention of putting an end to the war crimes and crimes against humanity which its fighters have been committing on a large scale, including against the Iraqi women and girls they have abducted and continue to hold captive.
'Any party, in Iraq or outside, with any influence over the IS should use that influence to secure the release of these captives.
'A small proportion of those abducted have managed to escape IS captivity, many after having been subjected to acts of unspeakable brutality.
'But the survivors interviewed by Amnesty International are not receiving the help and support they desperately need.'
Meanwhile, extremists are said to be working to excise women from public life across the ISIS controlled territory.
In day-to-day life, the group has also dramatically hemmed in women's lives across the Sunni Muslim heartland that makes up the bulk of Islamic State group territory, activists and residents say.
In Mosul, Iraq, the biggest city in the group's self-declared caliphate, 'life for women has taken a 180-degree turn', according to Hanaa Edwer, a prominent Iraqi human rights activist.
She added: 'They are forbidding them from learning, forbidding them from moving around freely. The appearance of a woman is being forcefully altered. '
At least 10 women in Mosul have been killed for speaking out against the group, Ms Edwer said.
In August, ISIS also detained and beheaded a female dentist in Deir el-Zour who had continued to treat patients of both sexes, the UN said.
Relatives of women considered improperly dressed or found in the company of males who are not relatives are lashed or imprisoned.
In the ISIS-controlled town of al-Bab in Syria's northern Aleppo province, an activist described seeing armed militants walking with a stick in hand, gently whacking or jabbing at women deemed inappropriately dressed.
Bari Abdelatif, who is now based in Turkey explained: 'Sometimes they follow the woman home and detain her father, or they confiscate her ID and tell her to come back with her father to pick it up.'
Enforcement varies from one place to the other, much of it depending on the whims of the Hisba, or vice police enforcing those rules.
Most of the areas taken over by ISIS were already deeply conservative places where women had a subordinate role in society, but the extremists have sharply exacerbated the restrictions.
An ISIS all-female brigade, called al-Khansa, patrols the streets in some areas to enforce clothing restrictions.
Meanwhile in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, an elementary school teacher said militants recently dropped by the school to deliver the niqab, robes and gloves for the students to wear.
They have also segregated schools and changed the curriculum and in some cases shut schools down as they were not teaching a hard-line version of Sharia law.
Hospitalas have also been segregrated, with women only allowed to be seen by female doctors, but there are very few of them left.
While early marriage is also on the rise because parents want to find husbands for their daughters quickly for fear they will be forced to marry ISIS fighters.
Last month, a United Nations panel said: 'The psychological and physical harm caused by ISIS's treatment of women, the onerous instructions imposed on their dress code, and restrictions on their freedom of movement demonstrate discriminatory treatment on the basis of gender
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