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ICC Note: A report indicates that of the 45 Christian women kidnapped by ISIS from Qaraqosh, only 7 have since returned. A separate report says that 3100 Yazidi women remain enslaved by ISIS. Challenging as it is to learn about the situation of Yazidi women still in captivity, it is even harder to learn about the Christians given their fewer numbers. The impact on their families and communities is, tragically, enormous.    

07/18/2018 Iraq (The Week) –  The release and return of a number of Christian women taken as slaves by Islamic State in Iraq has prompted questions about those still being held.

In August 2014, Isis militants swept through a cluster of Christian towns near Mosul, taking control and forcing thousands to flee.

Among the towns was Qaraqosh, which was Iraq’s largest Christian town with a population of 50,000. Once in command, the militants took many of the Christian women into captivity and sold them as slaves across the caliphate.

Qaraqosh remained under Isis control until 2016 but now, little by little, some residents who were forced to flee “have been returning to recover what belongings remain, to assess the damage to their property, and to attend church services and holidays”, says The Atlantic.

Reports suggest almost 26,000 Christians have now returned to their homes in the town but so far, of the 45 women taken from Qaraqosh, only seven have returned.

Though much is known of the plight of the Yazidis, “much less is known about the Christian women kidnapped by Isis”, says The Sunday Times.

“There are fewer of them – dozens rather than thousands – but the impact on their ancient society has been enormous”.

For two and a half years, Rana, a woman captured in Qaraqosh, was enslaved by Isis and sold to ever more abusive “owners” for up to £19,000. “As the militants consolidated their power over large swathes of Syria and Iraq, she fed their children, cleaned their houses and endured their brutal violence,” says the Sunday Times.

“I wanted to escape but there was no way to run away or leave,” Rana told the paper. “All the streets were full of mines. The family said, ‘If you go outside that door we will kill you.’”

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