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Mother Gully: The woman who stood in face of ISIS
Daya Gully and her husband Mam Rasho. Photo by Afshin Ismael

Mother Gully: The woman who stood in face of ISIS

  • 2021-03-19

Daya (Mother) Gully before leaving town fell at the hands of Islamic State ISIS militants with her son and daughter whom they try to separate but she firmly rejects and tries to stop them.

As she realizes she can't stop them, she pulls the pistol hidden under her dress and kills a militant called Salim Jazrawi who was the leader of the group called (Amir) and injures another. In return, they shoot her and she fells on the ground. They pull her body into the town and open fire of their guns at her.  

The son and daughter watch what happened to their courageous mother along with some other captured Ezdi families. Sherehan Rasho, recalls how a militant fired a full magazine of 30 bulletse at her mother.

Sherihan was raped 21 times by the extremist Jihaddist fighters of ISIS. Four years following murder of her mother, she was freed in 2018 for USD13,000 with the help of help of an Ezidi family.

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Mam (Uncle) Rasho printed a big photo for his wife in the middle of their house in Sinuny sub-district of Shingal district. Phto by Afshin Ismael.

Daya gully was 53 when ISIS took control of their home town dawn of August 3, 2014. Two of her sons were married, family total 14 members.

"I left home with the kids to go out of Sinuny. Daya Gully stayed at home with a son and a daughter as I promised to come back to pick them up because there was no enough space," Mam (Uncle in Kurdish) Rasho, husband of Daya Gully said.

Half an hour later, ISIS militants arrive in the town. Daya Gully decides to take the pistol they keep home and leave town with her son and daughter.

Mam rasho recalls as a soldier at the Iraqi army he had a pistol and taught his wife shooting. "I left them the gun to use it when necessary," he added.

She leaves home but not too far at the entrance of town toward Shingal Mount they are captured by IS fighters. "The fighters wanted to take the girls separately but my mother rejected it and stood for them," Sherehan recalls the moments before murder of her mother in front of her eyes.

Sherehan was taken to Idlib in Syria. So far she has no idea her brother brought to what destiny. When she was freed, she told the full story to her father.

"Daesh controlled the area so I knew they took them," Mam Rasho said. He takes his children to Ba'adry in Shekhan district. In fear of Daesh, they drive to Zakho district of Duhok Northern Province.

Mam Rasho fells ill when he hears what happened to his wife. After liberation of Shingal home town of Ezidi minority in 2015, Rasho decides to go back to his hometown in 2016. When his daughter Sherehan is set free, they look for the remnant of Daya Gully's body. They found it among the debris of a destructed house.

"It was winter, heavily raining when Sherehan showed me where her mother was shot. I recognized her ring and the photos she was hiding in her pockets. Now they live in the same house. Rasho printed a big photo of Gullly and put it in the middle of one of the rooms. Almost every day he stands in front of her photo for a while and recalls their memories together.

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Mam Rasho with his kids, daughters-in-law and grandkids in Sinnuny sub-district. Photo by Afshin Ismael. 

"I always see her in front of my eyes. Her photo is source of peacefulness for me and a pain at the same time as she left forever." Rasho repairs sewing machines and always carries a gun. "There is no guarantee there won't be another catastrophe."

His son is still missing, alike 2,700 Ezidis captured by Daesh. They are leading a miserable life as he is taking care of his son's wife and their five kids.

"We were leading a simple life. I was working in my workshop and we were satisfied till Daesh popped up and turned our life upside town."

Mam Rasho wants as much as people know about the heroic story of Mother Gully. He waits for NGOs and Iraqi federal government to make a statue for mother Gully in Sinuny.


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