‘She bled to death, nobody paid attention’: ISIS wives share chilling stories of life in ‘caliphate’
Khadija, who came to Syria from Tunis to live in Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) Syrian stronghold of Raqqa for three years, told RT that she saw plenty of cruelty and injustice, but no genuine pursuit of religion or Islamic law.
“My husband and I made a huge mistake by coming there. And I advise you not to believe those who say that ISIS is an Islamic state, which preaches Islam and Sharia and lives pursuant to the teachings of Prophet Muhammed and the Koran,” Khadija said.
The militants do not tolerate any dissent and opposition to their reign, she noted.
“Everybody, who takes a stand against them, they behead. And people don’t know when this is going to happen.”
“They are not on righteous path. This is the state of tyranny and Satan. My husband renounced them, and told me to do the same,” Khadija went on to say, adding that she and her husband escaped Raqqa running south to the town of al-Mayadeen and then to Turkey.
But before she made her escape, the young woman got to know IS’s darkest side with its ever-depreciating cost of human life, and in particular, of that of the most vulnerable, women and children.
“There was a lot of evil in the places where women live. Children were suffering from scabies, lice. When children were ill, they did not receive treatment at hospital,” Khadija said.
If women were found to be in violation of the strict code of conduct, imposed by IS, they were locked up in prison-like detention facilities by female watchers, put in charge of “women dormitories.”
“It was sickening to be there,” Khadija said, recounting stories of women in labor seeking help and receiving indifference at best. Women were routinely denied maternity care and forced to deliver babies on the spot.
One woman bled to death during labor after the dormitory’s superintendent refused to help her.
“That poor woman went to the garden, while bleeding heavily, stayed there till morning in a rainy and cold weather. Nobody paid attention to her. And in the morning her husband came, saw her body lying in the garden and passed by, without paying any attention, as nothing happened, as if [she] were a dog,” Khadija said.
In another case, a woman became crippled after her plea to be sent to hospital was rejected despite her saying that he leg was rotting.
While it appears that for a lot of women the life under IS was a living hell, it was not uncommon for the militants to have a sex slave in addition to a wife.
According to Khadija, women who are not sex slaves, are not subjected to the so-called “sex jihad.”
“You go to the city hall and get married. If you have been married and your husband got killed, you just got married to another man,” she said. The completely different story is, however, when a woman is captured and turned into a sex slave.
As a sex slave, a woman is considered to be the property of her owner, to do with as he pleases, for instance, to sell or give as a present.
“The wife and the other woman live separately. He lives with them in turns – one day with one woman, and the other day with another,” Khadija said, noting that despite their superior status lawful wives sometimes envy the Yazidi slave women.
“Many men love Yazidi girls more than their wives,” she said.
A 20-year-old, Nur Al-Khouda, originally from Tripoli, Lebanon, said her husband first joined a Salafi group where he was indoctrinated with IS ideology and left for Syria.
“He persuaded me that there’s nothing bad there and I trusted him as his wife so I arranged all the documents and I joined him in Syria,” the young woman told RT.
The slave trade is a booming market in IS, she said.
“They paid a lot of attention to women’s looks. They bought makeup to sell them for $15,000, the virgins were priced at $30,000.”
Young girls also became a mere commodity once they are in hands of jihadists, she added, recounting that the militants planned to sell a 10-year-old girl for some $10,000.
It was reported the girls as young as 8 are sold at such slave markets. Some 3,000 to 5,000 Yazidi women are believed to be held captive by IS as sex slaves.