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Daesh torturing, raping Sunni women in Iraq: HRW

Refugee women who fled the Iraqi city of Mosul wait in a queue for aid at the UN-run al-Hol refugee camp in Syria's Hasakah province, on January 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Daesh Takfiri terrorists are raping and torturing Sunni Arab women in the areas under their control in Iraq.

The New York-based rights organization documented cases of arbitrary detentions of Sunni women, beatings, forced marriages and rape by the Takfiri militants based on interviews with six victims in Kirkuk, to which they had escaped from the town of Hawijah, south of Mosul.

Hanan, a 26-year-old woman, one of the victims who had been captured by Daesh militants along with other women while they were trying to escape Hawijah, said the terrorists told her that she was an apostate because her husband had earlier fled the town, forcing her to marry the local militant leader.

She told the HRW that the militants blindfolded, beat her with plastic cables, suspended her by her arms for some time and then raped her after she refused to marry the local terrorist leader.

The rights body further said the issue was not given enough attention and that too little was being done to tackle the stigma that forbids many more victims from coming forward.

“Little is known about sexual abuse against Sunni Arab women living under ISIS (Daesh) rule,” said the HRW’s deputy Middle East director, Lama Fakih. “We hope that the international community and local authorities will do all they can to give this group of victims the support they need,” she added.

The official also said the victims of Daesh gender violence “suffer the consequences of their abuse long after they have managed to escape,” calling for “a multifaceted response” to their plight.

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive in June 2014.

The militants have been committing vicious crimes against all ethnic and religious communities in Iraq, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians.

Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians, have joined forces to retake Mosul, Daesh’s last major city stronghold in the country.

They are in the middle of a large-scale offensive which began on October 17, 2016. Since then they have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements.

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