Three Female ISIS Defectors Describe Life Under Terror Group’s Harsh Rule
SOUTHERN TURKEY — After driving around a small town here for about 15 minutes to make sure we weren’t being followed, we were finally taken to a safe house where we waited for three Syrian women to arrive.
They walked in together, dressed in the most conservative form of Islamic clothing, which covered everything but their eyes.
It was hot and stuffy in the small apartment. The owner didn’t want to open the windows, fearing his neighbors might see what was going on.
The women were members of ISIS’s feared morality police. They had defected and fled to Turkey, but they’re not out of danger here. ISIS, which has informants on both sides of the border, is not a group that treats quitters kindly, especially when they talk to foreign journalists.
Dua, short with strong shoulders and stocky build, says she became a believer in the ISIS ideology when she married one of the group’s fighters in Raqqa. He was from Saudi Arabia. Like the other two women interviewed by NBC News, Dua only wanted to be identified by a nickname.
“A member of the group (ISIS), a Saudi, came and asked for my hand and I married him,” said Dua. “I was married for six months, then he died in a suicide attack.”
Her family, Dua says, forced her to marry the Saudi man. They were poor and he offered them $2,500. Dua says her family needed the money and was too scared to refuse an ISIS militant.
While married, Dua became an enforcer in the female morality police.
“They would cut off heads, and put the heads on the streets, or display bodies where everyone, even children, can see them. It was too much”
“I would tour the markets, take part in raids, and take women who were violating the dress code to the headquarters,” she said. “First we’d warn them, but if they continued, they would be lashed. Twenty, or 40 lashes for her, and the man responsible for her.”
Dua admits she sometimes did the lashing herself, and described what she called a typical case.
“There was a woman who violated her dress code; her cloak had a design on it. They brought her to me and I lashed her 40 times,” she said.
Smuggled Footage Shows Life Under ISIS in Raqqa, Syria 1:25
Flourishes of any kind on women’s clothing are forbidden under ISIS’s rule.
“When they told her to come, she tried not to, to escape her punishment. So they increased her sentence. It was supposed to be 20 (lashes), but since she wouldn’t come, I whipped her 40 times,” Dua continued, saying she used a length of cable to whip the woman.
“She was screaming and crying and all of that, but this was supposed to be a lesson, the last time … She’d been warned before, but kept violating,” she said.
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