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Islamic State (ISIS) Terrorist Group using Thousands of Women as Sex slaves in Mosul, Iraq

IS executed over 60 people this week for alleged "treason" in Mosul after rulings by the so-called IS 'courts' according to the UN

A member of Iraq's elite forces flashes a victory sign as forces advance toward Islamic State positions in the village of Tob Zawa, near Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 25, 2016. VOA

Mosul, Nov 13, 2016: Thousands of women from the Yazidi minority are being held by the Islamic State jihadist group in the embattled Iraqi city of Mosul, local news site Ara News reported, citing a prominent human rights activist.

“A total of 3,400 Yazidi women and girls remain enslaved for IS sex use. Only a few have escaped since the Mosul operation,” Ara News quoted Nadia Murad as saying on Friday.

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Murad said she recently been receiving calls from Yazidi families asking for help to free their women and girls from IS captivity.

“A Yazidi mother told me her 16-year-old daughter’s rescue from IS sex slavery costs 15,000 dollars and she cannot pay,” she said.

“It is unbearable,” said Murad, who survived IS enslavement and was nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace prize for her efforts to alleviate the plight of Yazidi women at the hands of IS.

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Yezidi women are reported to have been moved to Mosul for use as human shields as well as sex slaves, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday describing the scale of civilian suffering in the IS stronghold as “numbing and “intolerable”.

IS executed over 60 people this week for alleged “treason” in Mosul after rulings by the so-called IS ‘courts’ according to the UN. Other reported atrocities include torture, chemical attacks, large-scale use of human shields and sexual exploitation of women and girls.

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The Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia militiamen in mid-October began an operation to route IS militants from Mosul, and last week entered the eastern outskirts of the city, which IS overran in 2014.

Kurdish forces have recently discovered several mass graves in the Yezidi Sinjar region of Iraq. IS attacked Sinjar in August 2014, murdering hundreds of people and abducting thousands of women and girls who they forced into sexual slavery.

Almost 4,000 Yazidis who were enslaved remain unaccounted for, the UN said in August. (IANS)

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Civilians Who Fled Afrin Suffer from Dire Humanitarian Conditions

People sit in a truck with their belongings in the north east of Afrin, Syria, March 15, 2018. VOA

Thousands of civilians who fled the city of Afrin are enduring dire conditions after they reached Syrian-controlled areas south of the Afrin district.

“More than 2,000 people reached the towns of Nubl and Zahraa from Afrin in the past 24 hours, raising the number of total civilians in the two towns to 16,000. Many are suffering from tragic conditions,” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights website.

Turkish media announced the control of Afrin on Sunday, after the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) withdrew from the city and thousands of civilians were evacuated — 59 days after the launch of Operation Olive Branch, the Turkish military operation in Afrin.

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The Observatory said Nubl and Zahraa were struggling to provide shelter and food for the large numbers of displaced people pouring into the towns.

Sumama Al-Ashkar, a journalist in Nubl and Zahraa, told VOA that people were residing in houses, mosques, schools, public halls and warehouses.

“The civilians in Nubl and Zahraa are able to get some aid and services, but those who went to Tal Rifat in northern Aleppo are struggling to survive,” he said.

ALSO READ: Gulf, West grapple with Syrian refugee crisis

The U.S. State Department issued a statement on Monday expressing deep concern about reports coming from the predominantly Kurdish city in the past 48 hours.

“It appears the majority of the population of the city … evacuated under threat of attack from Turkish military forces and Turkish-backed opposition forces. This adds to the already concerning humanitarian situation in the area, with United Nations agencies reporting a displaced population in or from Afrin district in the hundreds of thousands, who now require immediate shelter and other assistance to meet basic needs,” the statement said.

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army soldiers walk in city center of Afrin, northwestern Syria, March 18, 2018. VOA

Destruction and looting

A number of reports circulated in the media said Turkish-backed forces were destroying and looting public and private properties after they entered the city.

The Afrin media center said once the Turkish-backed fighters reached the town center, they destroyed a statue placed in the center of the city that represents Kurdish cultural figure Kawa the Ironsmith.

“Kawa the Ironsmith is a major historical symbol for the Kurdish people, as it is linked to the most important Middle Eastern holiday, the Nawruz,” Afrin Media Center said.

Footage coming from Afrin also showed Turkish-backed fighters pillaging homes, shops and military sites amidst chaos. They were seen carrying food, electronic devices, civilian cars, farmers’ tractors and livestock.

Members of the Syrian opposition condemned the looting and destruction of the city and called for holding the looters responsible for their acts.

The General Military Staff of the Syrian Interim Government, an alternative government of the Syrian opposition, issued a statement Monday calling for the Turkey-backed Syrian rebels to protect civilians and their properties, and to respect religious and ethnic installations in Afrin.

Turkish soldiers, positioned in the city center of Afrin, northwestern Syria, March 19, 2018, a day after they took the control of the area. VOA

In a comment to CNN, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Erdogan, did not deny the reports of looting but said the actions were committed by some groups who disobeyed their commanders. He said reports were being investigated.

Guerilla war

On Sunday, Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim told ANF, the Kurdish News Agency, that the fight in Afrin entered a new phase, where the YPG and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) will continue to resist in the district.

Muslim added that the civilians had to leave the city for their own protection and vowed to step up the fight.

“The existence of civilians in the city will impose a challenge for our fighters. Our enemy kills civilians and strikes hospitals, and since the Turkish offensive started, civilians were targeted. Now, the war will continue in a different way after civilians left the city,” Muslim said.

A number of humanitarian organizations and civil society groups working north and east of Syria, including the Kurdish Red Crescent, issued a joint statement calling on the international community to act.

“We plea to the international community to intervene immediately to stop these attacks and let the refugees return to their homes, protect their possessions and civil rights, and deliver aid to thousands of people [who] fled this war,” the statement said Monday. VOA