Sun Ladies - former sex slaves waging war on ISIS beasts who tortured and raped them
They are the Force of the Sun Ladies – many of them former ISIS sex slaves who have escaped their jihadi tormentors.
They have suffered the worst atrocities imaginable, rape and torture – with some having lost everything, reports the New Day.
One woman describes giving birth while being held as a sex slave then being forbidden to feed her newborn son.
When her baby cried out in hunger, the woman’s captor beheaded him.
The grief endured by these women is unimaginable.
Having escaped their captors, were they to have abandoned all hope and turned their faces to the wall, the world would have understood their despair.
Instead, driven by the desire for revenge, they are hitting back, having formed an all-female battalion whose aim is to attack their abusers in Iraq.
In the summer of 2014, one of Iraq’s oldest minorities, the Yazidis, were forced to flee to Mount Sinjar in the north-west – or face slaughter by an encircling group ofISIS jihadists.
Many of them saw their loved ones massacred in their thousands after ISIS stormed their villages.
Now, in retaliation, they’re preparing for an offensive on the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, where many of them were exchanged by militants to serve as their sex slaves.
Around 5,000 Yazidi men and women were captured by ISIS militants in that 2014 assault.
Some 2,000 managed to escape or were smuggled out of ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, emerging with heart-rending stories of sexual abuse and torture.
Sadly, the misery goes on. The United Nations says ISIS is still holding an estimated 3,500 people in Iraq, the majority of them women and girls from the Yazidi community.
Some managed to escape when coalition forces pounded ISIS from the air and broke its siege of Mount Sinjar.
But thousands starved to death or died of heatstroke.
ISIS later systematically killed men, and women deemed too old or too young to be sold into sexual slavery.
Boys who could be brainwashed and conscripted as child soldiers were kidnapped, while women taken as captives were ordered to convert to Islam, subjected to forced marriages and repeatedly raped.
Captain Khatoon Khider, a member of the Sun Ladies, says: “Whenever a war wages, our women end up as the victims.
"Now we are defending ourselves from the evil.”
Captain Khider had no combat experience when she proposed a specialised all-female Yazidi force after surviving the assault on Mount Sinjar.
“Our elite force is a model for other women in the region,” she says. “We want to thank all the other countries who help us in this difficult time.
“We want everyone to take up weapons and know how to protect themselves from the evil. We have a lot of our women in Mosul being held as slaves.
“Their families are waiting for them. We are waiting for them.”
ISIS has taken girls as young as eight and traded them at market for a few dollars.
One 19-year-old member of the Sun Ladies, Mesa, says: “It’s important to us to be able to protect our dignity and honour. “I’m very proud to protect my people. After all that has happened to us Yazidis, we are no longer afraid.”
Another Yazidi survivor, Nadia Murad, 21, is urging British lawmakers to help free the thousands of women and girls for whom captivity remains a miserable fact of life.
She was tortured and raped during three months of captivity by ISIS until she managed to escape.
Now living in Germany, she is appealing for help for all the displaced Yazidis who live in refugee camps.
And she has implored governments and United Nations representatives to investigate the widespread allegations that ISIS has committed genocide against the Yazidi people.
She says: “I’m in touch with friends – girls who are still in captivity. They are asking for help, to be freed.”
Yazidis once numbered 650,000 in Iraq, but became among the biggest victims of ISIS in 2014 when thousands were slaughtered and at least 200,000 were displaced.
The UN has condemned ISIS attacks on the Yazidi community, saying that those responsible could face trial for crimes against humanity – but prosecutions have been rare so far.
Islamic State militants consider the Yazidis to be devil worshippers and have abducted many of them in Syria and Northern Iraq.
They are persecuted for falling outside the worldwide caliphate declared by ISIS in their region and live in fear of being sold into slavery.
Their pictures are posted on social media feeds where slave buyers can peruse them.
The women are largely sold to the Middle East as sex slaves while the males go into servitude. Others are sold for ransom.
Some particularly successful ISIS fighters also receive what are considered to be the highest quality of sex slaves as gift to thank them for their commitment and bravery to the cause.
It is impossible to gauge exactly how many women have been made sex slaves by ISIS.
Those who have escaped are the lucky ones, but they largely live in fear of being recaptured or killed for absconding.