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EXCLUSIVE – ISIS gunmen checked boys’ ages by their armpit hair and tricked us into choosing Islam or death: Yazidis reveal how they survived slaughter of 800 men by playing dead in mass grave


Three Yazidi refugees have told of their horrific ordeal at the hands of ISIS

Boys first checked for underarm hair to see if they were old enough to die

Men and boys in Kojo, Iraq, who were tricked into choosing Islam or death were driven away and made to stand in front of mass graves

Women were taken hostage by the merciless jihadis and made sex slaves

A Yazidi refugee and his two nephews have told how they had to play dead to survive after they were rounded up, forced to stand next to a ditch and shot by laughing ISIS soldiers in a massacre which killed 800.

Once ISIS overran their town last August, the Yazidis were herded into a school and their armpits were inspected.

The women and girls were put on one side of the hall, to be taken away as sex slaves, while the men were lined up on the other.

Those with underarm hair were judged to be older than ten – and old enough to be murdered.

The ‘men’ were then split into two groups; those willing to convert to Islam and those who wanted to remain Christians.

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2A83BE0D00000578-3160595-image-a-4_1436873065916Massacre: The Yazidi men and boys were rounded up in front of a mass grave outside Kojo village and shot

2A83BBBE00000578-3160595-image-a-10_1436875778797Slaughter: The men were lined up in a ditch and shot in the head by laughing ISIS gunmen. A survivor told how he played dead while covered in victims’ blood and hid among the dead bodies

The Christians were told that they would be taken to the Sinjar mountains and freed.

But it was a trick – and instead they were put into trucks and taken to killing fields around the village of Kojo, northern Iraq, where they were made to stand by mass graves and executed.

Khalaf – whose name has been changed to protect his identity – told how he was one of 800 men shot at, but survived.

He was too scared to move or even breath as he laid, covered in blood from other victims, as dead bodies fell on top of him.

Khalaf’s two brothers were murdered that day, but his two nephews Kameel and Jamal, again, not their real names, lived by laying in the grave for hours while soldiers walked along checking for survivors.

If they found anyone still alive they were shot in the head to be sure they were dead.

A man lying next to Khalaf in the ditch was found by an ISIS fighter to still be breathing, so he was shot three times in the head.

Speaking from a refugee camp in Iraq, Khalaf, 42, told MailOnline: ‘They [ISIS] took everybody to the big school inside Kojo. They took everything from us – telephones, money, gold.’

The jihadis ordered men and boys over the age of 10 to stand on the right and women and other children on the left.

‘They tested to see if the boys had underarm hair,’ he said.

The fanatics used this crude test to determine whether the Yazidi boys were old enough to be slaughtered.

In what appeared to be an act of humanity, the fighters gave around 400 men and boys standing on the right-hand side a choice – to become a Muslim or be led to Mount Sinjar where they would be set free.

‘They did not say anything bad [to us],’ Kameel, 32, said. ‘They said if you want to stay and be a Muslim it is ok. If you want us to take you to the mountain, we will and you can leave.’

2A85F8B400000578-3160595-image-a-18_1436878446855Execution: Men are made to kneel before being shot by Islamic State gunmen in Raqqa province, Syria. This is not the Yazedi mass grave execution, but a similar incident


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