ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Christian woman from Qaraqosh, who was kidnapped by the Islamic State (IS) in 2014, was reunited with her father on Wednesday, a moment she described as “a dream.”
Kurdistan 24 spoke with the woman, Rita Habib, who said her father was the only remaining member left in her family.
The rest were killed when the extremist group overran the town of Qaraqosh, southeast of Mosul, killing thousands and kidnapping her and hundreds of other women and girls.
“I am very happy that after three years I reunited with my father. It is a joyous moment because he is the only family I have left,” she said.
Rita said she spent a few months in Mosul—once IS’ major stronghold in the country—before the militants transferred her to Syria where she was repeatedly sold and bought in the group’s sex slave market.
“I was bought and sold four times. They did evil things to us. They beat us and raped us,” she told Kurdistan 24. “The worst of all was girls aged nine who were raped. Girls would be sold for 4,000 to 15,000 dollars.”
She added that the extremists had “kidnapped Christian and Kurdish Ezidi girls and used them for many things, including as sex slaves.”
Rita was rescued five months ago in Syria’s Deir al-Zor Province by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
She was handed over to a Christian humanitarian group in Syrian Kurdistan who helped her cross the border into the Kurdistan Region and eventually to Erbil where she was reunited with her father.
After arriving in Erbil, Rita says she is searching for her previous life and wants to share her story to help the other victims still under IS captivity.
(Kurdistan 24 correspondent Zardasht Hami contributed to this report)