A Christian mother and son who escaped Islamic State-held Mosul have told their story of kidnap and torture by the extremists.
Speaking to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Jandark Benham Mansour Nassi, 55, and her son Ismail, 16, gave an account of being taken from their home in Bartella to Mosul when IS invaded towns and villages in the Nineveh plains in August 2014.
Ismail, whom the militants jailed, recounted seeing gun-wielding “jihadi” children killing orange-clad IS prisoners, and witnessing a woman bound hand and foot being stoned to death. The teenager described how IS threatened to kill him if he refused to convert to Islam. He recalled the humiliation of later converting to Islam against his will and how he went to a “correctional camp” where the jihadi militants tried to force him to marry, in spite of him being only 15 at the time.
The two escaped late last year by fleeing to the frontline during fighting for the liberation of Mosul. “Da’esh snipers tried to shoot us. We ran for cover into a house. After hours of fighting, my mother and I were able to leave the house, waving a white flag. Soldiers of the Iraqi liberation army welcomed us. We were free,” Ismail said.
The pair eventually found safety in Erbil, which was a refuge for the thousands of Christians fleeing the Nineveh plains during the summer of 2014.