The unimaginable cruelty that the women and children of Syria had faced cannot be put settled into the finest words. From physical and psychological trauma to getting pleasure from inflicting pain on others. From radicalizing the minds of civil mortals with their twisted perception of the religion and extremist ideologies to merely using women as sexual commodities.
I was only seventeen years old when I had escaped from Syria. It was either have enough courage and capacity to strive for a better life or willingly submit yourself to the so called Mujahedeen who claimed themselves as veracious Islamists. As a young girl of only twelve, my fundamental right to education and political freedom of speech were taken away from me and a niqab was put on against my will. Dare I step outside without a man; I was brutally beaten till I could no longer move my fingers let alone my legs. Although I was only required to do a set number of domestic chores but I knew in my bones I sustained skills and aptitude that I assumed was yet to be explored and recognized.
On the early morning of April, 2012; barrel bombs and air strikes led by US-Led coalition trickled in the city of Aleppo like rain drops. The Syrian government under the leadership of Bashar Al Assad backed by Russia was rather much ruthless as it killed its own hundred thousand civilians. I lost two of my uncles and five cousins that day, and oh! I remember crying into my wretched pillow every night. Where was the International community? The Syrians were being internally displaced, tortured, and held hostages whilst the other countries were too preoccupied with their economic advancements. For years there had been a constant tug of war between the two dominions not being the least bothered about the collateral damage that claimed the lives of the innocent Syrians.
Later in the year, my family and I decided to visit our maternal grandparents in Northern Iraq. Little did I know about the events that proceeded. The extremist fighters had targeted the community and I was kidnapped along with thousands of other yazidi women and children when ISIS swept across Iraq in a brutal campaign. Many people imagine dungeons to be dank, dark and deep vaults below a castle, where prisoners were held- and where the unluckiest among them were tortured; however, this image doesn’t really hold true.
I was in a chronic state of physical and emotional depletion, manifested by both physical and psychological trauma. In other words, emotionally drained. I along with three other women were held in a cellar on the left to the dungeon hallway. Little or no food was given because of their belief we’d have better nutrition in paradise. I missed my Papa and Mamma.
Umme Aiemen, a twenty years old mother of three cried in desperation and the thought she may not be able to see her infant children consumed her. The dungeon smelled like sweat, sour, and urine that I could no longer withstand. Every passing second accentuated to the duration of a lifetime I had never lived nor had any desire to.
Nevertheless, I was not to surrender anytime soon. The rebellions had launched an attack on the mujahedeen safe haven and laid siege on the fort. While the guards were off duty, I managed to unlock the cellar bar using the only bobby pin strangled in my hair and tried to do the same with cellars nearby. My heartbeat increased with every passing second and I could practically feel my intestines right up my throat fearing the catastrophe that may lay in my path in case I got caught. With only one strapped shoe, I sprinted up the back exit staircase leading to a complete detached barren land. I could hear the Adhan from miles away. But I ran, even weary and exhausted, I couldn’t help myself and my entire life flashed before my eyes. The potential risk of the mujahedeen gaining supremacy over my emotions was narrow but the willpower my parents had raised me to turn to dieri situations as such, motivated me to reach for my freedom.