By Debbie Gregory.
They are the survivors, these young women. Most of them were taken from in and around the town of Sinjar, Iraq, which fell to ISIS in August, 2014. They witnessed the slaughter of their families on Mount Sinjar, and then were forced by ISIS into sexual slavery. Now the “Sun Ladies,” Yazidi women who have signed up to fight ISIS, are ready to take up arms against their former capturers.
Calling themselves “Force of the Sun Ladies” and driven by a collective desire for vengeance, the battalion is preparing for an offensive on the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, where many were exchanged by militants to serve as their sex slaves.
Some 123 Sun Ladies, ranging in age from 17 to 37, have undergone training and have taken their place alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. There are another 500 who are awaiting training.
The “lucky” ones managed to escape after being sold off to low-level fighters, while others were ransomed back to their families. The Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights runs a small clinic in the Kurdish city of Duhok where Yazidi women can receive medical care and psychological treatment.
Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a 21 year old Yazidi survivor, has addressed British Parliament and the U.N. Security Council, asking for help in freeing the thousands of women and girls who remain captive. She has travelled to Egypt, Greece, Kuwait, Norway, the United States, appealing for aid for displaced Yazidis living in refugee camps. She has also asked for an investigation as to whether ISIS has committed genocide against the Yazidi people.
The Sun Ladies may come up against Yazidi boys who were kidnapped and brainwashed, and could now be fighting their mothers and sisters under the black flag of ISIS.
Capt Khatoon Khider, a member of the Sun Ladies, said, “… we are defending ourselves from the evil. We are defending all the minorities in the region. We will do whatever is asked of us.”