From the hell of ISIS into the heavenly world of painting

January 1, 2019 at 2:30 pm

Ninawa- Ezidis celebrate one of their religious festivals at Lalish Temple, April 2018 Photo: Heman Baban

Ammar Aziz- Ninawa

During a 3-year-long captivity with ISIS brutal terrorist organization, Suhaila was sold several times as a sex slave to ISIS militants. Her life was literally turned into a living hell.

 Suhaila Dakhil was one of an estimated 6,417 Ezidis, most of them women, who were kidnapped by ISIS in 2014.

She was miraculously freed from ISIS captivity in 2017 after an amount of 7,000 US dollars was paid to her captors in exchange for her release.

Suhaila, 17, who currently lives in an IDPs camp in Duhok, has chosen her passion and skills for drawing to forget her misery.

“I love drawing. So far I have drawn 15 paintings”, she said.

Most of her paintings reflect the horrible scenes and suffering she witnessed with her fellow Ezidis in the wake of the terrorist group’s attack on her hometown Shingal.

Duhok- An Ezidi girl reunited with her family 7-11-2017 Photo: Abductees Affairs Office


Suhaila along with 18 women and girls of her family and relatives were captured by ISIS before they were transported to Mosul, where her suffering began.

“Our life was terrible. I can describe it as a truly living hell. The worst thing was that I was sold as a sex slave eight times to ISIS militants.”

I was sold as a sex slave eight times

She indicated that she was released after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s office tasked with rescuing Ezidi abductees paid US$ 7,000 to her captors.

According to KRG statistics, out of the 6,417 Ezidis kidnapped by ISIS, more than 3 thousand abductees have been freed, while the fate of the remaining is still unknown.

Hussein Qayidi, head of the KRG’s office for Ezidi abductees’ affairs told KirkukNow their teams “last week managed to free two Ezidis aged 18 and 19 from the villages of Dugreyi and Kocho on the environs of Shingal”.

Khudeda Msto, whose wife and three children were kidnapped by ISIS in 2014 -and are still missing- complains that “little has been done by the Iraqi government and the UN to save their loved ones”.

Ninawa- Ezidi women commemorate the atrocities committed against their minority, 2018 Photo: KirkukNow


The fate of thousands of Ezidis in unknown despite that the Iraqi government declared final victory over ISIS in Iraq, and in Syria the terrorist group is fading.

Half of Suhaila Dakhil’s 18 family and relatives abducted by ISIS are presumed missing.

Trying to erase her horrific memories of abuse and torture, as soon as she does her housework, Suhaila enters her heavenly world of painting.


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