Freed By ISIS, Yazidi Mothers Face Wrenching Choice: Abandon Kids Or Never Go Home
Support for NPR and the following message come from Dulles International Airport with the highest on time takeoff percentage of any airport on the east coast. I a d means I'm already departing more at fly Dulles dot com slash fast with the last piece of ISIS territory, liberated in Syria women kidnapped by ISIS five years ago are now being freed most of them are from the ZD religious minority as NPR's Jane raff reports from northeastern Syria those who emerged with children face a heartbreaking choice and just a warning. Here's some people might find this story disturbing. The little girl has been crying all day long. She's five years old. And she's cried herself sick the women. Here. Say we're in a room with foam mats, spread out on a concrete floor in the village in the Kurdish region of Syria. It's a halfway house for people held captive for five years and now freed from ISIS with the fall of the caliphate. The women and children here are waiting to cross the border to Iraq to return to what's left of their families. But not the girls two year old brother children have different fathers. He Brahim's was Moroccan ISIS fighter. The boy was born after his mother was kidnapped and forced to marry a member of the group that carried out genocide against her people. His mother is twenty two. Now, she's been told that if she wants to go home, she has to abandon her son. It's such a sensitive topic. We're not using the mother and daughters names. I mean, I love him just like my daughter, but my parents won't accept him. Nothing is in my hands. The group. She's with had tried to cross the border that morning. They left Ebrahim behind. Even my daughter was crying saying why is my brother not coming with us? I want to go back to Brahim. She cried the whole day when they got to the border. They were turned back because of a dispute between the Iraqi army and Kurdish Syrian forces. When I came back. He saw the car and ran towards me, and he shouted and hugged me. It was very painful. They're going to try to cross again. So this might be her last night with both her children. She sits on the floor her daughter's head in her lap stroking her hair, or is the little girl cries her other hand reaches for Ibrahim's tiny hand of stretch. Does he sleeps? For three years. I haven't been apart from him for a single minute and leave him in one minute. It's very hard. Mother cries, the little girl cries, practically everyone in the room starts to cry. The woman leaning against the wall with an arm broken by nicest wife, the young woman was shrapnel wounds lying on a bed even the older UCD women taking care of them who've seen this dozens of times. All of the mothers cry. They don't want to give them up they cry and the beat themselves because they are from the mother's flesh and blood. But if they go with their mother, the family doesn't accept them and the community doesn't accept them. So they are forced to leave them here. That's Fahim Sulaiman one of the women who helps families who have just been freed. It's been five years since I says kidnap thousands of ZD women and forced them into sexual slavery. I ask how many children have been separated from their mothers. Joe their thousand says Shammy Remmel another visi women running the house. On the mother says she pleaded with her parents to let her bring her son never to name him as I have so many friends that were freed some brought to children and some brought three children and their families. Still don't accept them. My parents tell me no one accepted any of these children. And that this applies to everyone it applies to everyone not just because the fathers belonged to a group that slaughtered and enslaved disease. But because only those born E D parents are considered ziti since they have Muslim fathers. These children are considered Muslim. There are hundreds of ziti women believed still hidden among ISIS families in the camps in Syria. The mother says some of them won't come out because they're told by those families their children would be taken away. If I wanted to stay with my son, I would have had to stay with ISIS. I was told they take the children away from their mothers. And it's true. Once the women crossover into Iraq. They're not allowed by security forces to cross the border again, a twenty two year old woman. ZD husband little girl's father was kidnapped with her five years ago. And she thinks he was murdered like almost all of these women. She's completely dependent on her remaining relatives Sulaiman says any family taking an daughter with a child from a nicest father would be shunned by the community, and he won nearly novel. The no one will look at them. No one will drink their water. No one will visit them. Getting any the women's Ebrahim like other children abuse ED mothers nicest father's Hobie left here in an orphanage run by Syrian Kurdish fighters for local family to adopt. None of the officials. We asked to know where that orphanage is. When we come back the next day, the young mother and her daughter and the rest of the group are gone this time the Iraqi army allowed them to cross the border. Ebrahim is still here. He plays with a set of blocks. Visit her brought him and he doesn't seem to realize right now. Anyway that anything is wrong. Both of them of searing ziti man with luxurious white hair in his sweeping white moustache Benz down to play with him. This part of Syria is run by secular Kurds, and it's one of very few places in the region where Islam doesn't rule mood raw show. Another series. Ziti says of Ebrahim went to Iraq, other children would always consider him a son of ISIS, and he would face discrimination. He says they will find good families here for the children occas. Zien Yogi family, we're giving them too. They must be a good family. They're thinking must not be radical Islamic. They must be secular and open minded says they'll be placed with families with no children of their own who can afford to raise them. The new family will likely change Ebrahim's name. He doesn't know he was born in the ISIS caliphate. And he probably won't remember his mother. But his mother will remember as she says, he's her flesh and blood. Jane, Arraf, NPR news in northeastern Syria.