DOHUK, Iraq -- Reports from eyewitnesses here in Northern Iraq spoke to Breitbart News about how the terrorist group the Islamic State is using Yazidi hostages as human shields to protect themselves against U.S. airstrikes -- using the same strategy as Hamas in Gaza.
"ISIS sells the women as slave girls, the way they are doing it, they are using the women as human shields to protect them from U.S. airstrikes," said Hameed, a Yazidi refugee who is seeking safe haven in Northern Iraq. He escaped his village when ISIS invaded and fled to Sinjar Mountain with his family where he stayed for 7 days with limited food and water. ISIS is still holding four of his family members hostage.
Hameed said that his family members that are still being held hostage spoke to him on the phone saying that "ISIS are using the hostages as human shields to protect themselves from the U.S. airstrikes." He said that he has spoken with members of ISIS as well on the phone and they told him that they aren't going to hurt his family members, but the reason they are keeping them hostage is to protect themselves from U.S. airstrikes.
Hameed believes that ISIS will kill his family members eventually. "They enjoy the scene of blood and are happy about it," he explains. "They dance over these bodies."
"We didn't take any food with us because we weren't expecting these kinds of attacks. I was asleep and heard some sounds of gunfire, my mom woke me up and I was very scared. People are running from their houses, they are trying to get whatever they can and are fleeing to the mountain," he said.
"ISIS began searching for individuals who stayed in the village, regardless if they found anyone, elder or in a wheelchair, they would take them as slaves and sell them out in the market place or somewhere else."
Hameed said that after ISIS kidnapped the people, they would blow up headquarters and buildings that belong to Kurdistan parties. "They burn alcohol stores. Whoever stayed there was being ripped out from his house, they took the people to the center and will probably execute them."
He said that even if people do nothing wrong and don't pick up a weapon, they will still be killed, "they will still kill you and treat you like an infidel." He added that he spoke with a neighbor from his village on that phone who is very wealthy who is helping by buying some of the women that ISIS is selling as slaves so he can return them to their families.
Hameed heard that ISIS was retreating from a village where some of the first clashes took place between the native citizens and ISIS, not because of fighting, but due to the smell from the dead bodies. "The reason is because they can't bear the environment because of the smell, even traffic is stopped in areas because we have this large amount of dead bodies." This echoes reports from Iraqi Member of Parliament Vian Dakhil, the legislature's only Yazidi representative, who reported that Islamic State jihadists had been overwhelmed by the scent of their own killings.
"We can't go back home because we know what will happen to us if we go back home. We will be killed," he said.
This is one of many horrific stories from the Yazidi refugees. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees in Northern Iraq due to the advancement of ISIS. Driving down the road, you will see refugees using bridges and abandoned buildings for shelter. Schools in Dohuk were supposed to start classes this last week, but have been postponed due to refugees using the schools for shelters. There are over 550,000 IDP's (internal displaced people) in Dohuk alone. There are 95,000 families and they expect 120,000 families by winter.
A group of Americans from various Christian organizations visited refugees at the Yazidi camp in Dohuk this last week. They went inside the tents with the Yazidi people and listened to their stories of escaping from Mt. Sinjar. The refugees spoke about the feeling of loss and abandonment. "Nobody is paying attention to us, nobody cares," said one refugee.
Abby Abildness, with Healing Tree International in Pennsylvania, was part of this group. She responded to the refugees saying that "God has not forgotten you and there are people around the world praying and wanting to help."
One refugee family spoke about how their brother had been wounded when the Islamic State invaded; they believed he was executed. The refugees struggle with PTSD and are in dire need for medical and psychological help. Many of the children are sick and have died while living in the camps. There is fear of disease outbreaks throughout the camps. They are also concerned about winter coming. Many of the refugees are still wearing the same clothing from when they escaped Mt. Sinjar.
A medical official stated that ISIS has abused and kidnapped over 2,000 women and children -- many have been killed. He said that 450 Yazidi men were shot in one hour. "How can you think that those people who face all those troubles can go back? They can't go back," he said. "We know that America is trying to help but we hope America can do more...the needs of the refugees is beyond our capabilities," he said.
The KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) employees have not been paid a salary for 3 months due to the KRG budget being cut off by the Baghdad central government. The KRG budget has been cut off by Baghdad due to various disagreements on oil and gas sales.
Photo Credits: Tera Dahl.