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ICC Note: In Northern Iraq, ISIS fighters swept through the town and nearly all of the Christians fled. In an amazing tale of survival, two 60-year-old Christian women were able to survive after being left behind in the small village of Teleskof. The town has since been cleared of ISIS fighters, but fighting continues on a near daily basis making it unsafe for any to return.

03/09/2015 Iraq (Rudaw) Since the entire 4,000 population left Teleskof seven months ago to flee an Islamic State (ISIS) advance across Iraq, two lone Christian women in their 60s remain the only residents of this ghost town east of Mosul.

“When ISIS came all the people of our city fled, but I didn’t have any family or relatives and I wasn’t able to run so I stayed here,” said Sarya Matto, one of the two women now living in a tiny room with no electricity or services.

“I had a friend left here like me and when I found out the two of us got into a room, closed the doors and remained quiet.”

Matto and her companion Madi Salim say that 10 days into their hiding ISIS militants came knocking on their door.

“Though our house was far from the city center, 10 days later we heard human voices,” said Sarya. “Then they knocked on our door. They were speaking Arabic. We didn’t open the door but they broke it down and came in. They were three, wearing long beards. They asked us for money but we didn’t have any. They searched the house, then one of them saw my gold cross necklace and tore it from my neck.”

Matto recalled her ordeal with tearful eyes, saying she was trembling with fear the moment she faced the three militants.

“One of them said we should kill them, the other said ‘why waste our bullets,’” recalled Sarya. “Then they beat us with their rifle butts and left.”

Matto said that the ISIS advance on the town was so terrifying that everyone fled in haste and no one helped she and Salim flee. Without relatives or immediate family, their best bet was to stay and hide.

Matt said that after 15 days of hiding in the dark room she and her friend heard men speaking Kurdish outside, and they figured it was the Peshmerga.

“We immediately opened the door and we cried a lot when we saw them,” said Matto, remembering the evening at the end of August when the Kurdish Peshmerga recaptured Teleskof from ISIS. “They helped us. They brought us food and water.”

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