All Yazidi sex slaves in the Iraqi town of al-Hakne will be slaughtered if coalition forces attack, warned militants belonging to the Islamic State Monday.
ISIS is holding an unknown number of Yazidi women in the town, which is located along the western bank of the Tigris river in Iraq’s northern al-Shirqat district. Forces participating in Operation Inherent Resolve took the eastern bank of the river, and are preparing to move on the village.
ISIS forced thousands of women, many of whom belong to the Yazidi religious minority, into sex slavery after taking large swaths of territory in northern Iraq and Syria. The ISIS sex slave market is broad and well-established. It operates on an auction basis, where would-be owners can bid on women and girls as young as 7 years-old. Treatment of sex slaves in the so-called caliphate is nothing short of horrific. Some women have gone to extreme lengths to avoid being consistently raped by their captors, including suicide and setting themselves on fire.
The Yazidi minority is specifically targeted by ISIS due to its religious practices. Yazidism is an ancient religion that borrows from Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Yazidis venerate the angel Melek Taus, which ISIS considers devil worship.
ISIS resorts to increasingly desperate and violent tactics as it loses territory in Iraq and Syria. The terrorist group is using suicide bombers, human shields and booby traps as coalition forces clear them from towns and city centers.
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