Islamists Killed the Adults—Now One Woman Raises 10 Kids Alone
After Islamists drove her from Sinjar, Baida Idris adopted her brother-in-law’s orphans
Thirty-year-old Baida Idris, a Kurdish Sunni Muslim from Sinjar was a devoted wife with three daughters and two sons of her own.
But when Islamic State militants marched into Sinjar on Aug. 3, her life changed. She lost her husband and much of her extended family. Now she raises 10 children all by herself, having taken her brother-in-law’s orphans.
When the militants came to the Sinjar, Idris and her family tried to flee. “When we tried to get out of Sinjar, they closed all the roads,” she tells War Is Boring.
“150 meters from the [Kurdish] KDP [political] branch in Sinjar, there were around 60 ISIS fighters with 10 trucks,” she explains. “When we saw them we turned back, but their cars came and surrounded us quickly.”
Idris said they grabbed her brother-in-law and accused him of being an “officer.” Idris insists he wasn’t, but the militants shot him in the leg anyway.
“When they shot my father in his leg, I went to him and called him, ‘Dad dad dad!’” says Moqtada Mohammed, the man’s six-year-old son. “He said, ‘I’m alive.’”
As Idris’ brother-in-law lay bleeding, his 35-year-old wife Siham grabbed a gun and shot at the militants. She killed one and wounded another. But the militants returned fire, shooting the injured man again in the back … and killing his wife.
When the smoke cleared, Siham’s children were all orphans. The radicals also kidnapped Idris’s sister-in-law and her disabled mother-in-law.
The militants told Idris to take all the children and leave quietly. The Islamists insisted that they leave the bodies. Idris says she thinks the militants were afraid she might have a gun like Siham did. She says the children were terrified and crying.
She obeyed and walked back to her house. She says she doesn’t know what happened to her surviving in-laws.
On Aug. 4, jet fighters bombed Islamic State forces in Sinjar. As militants scrambled to respond, Idris’s Kurdish neighbor seized the opportunity—and took Idris and the children to Qabose village. The next day, another brother-in-law who had escaped the violence took them all to Krovi village.
After that, a Kurdish benefactor paid an Arab taxi driver from Tal Afar 300,000 Iraqi dinars—more than $250—to drive the survivors to a Kurdish Peshmerga check point in Badriya.
When they arrived there, the Peshmarga took them to a school in Dohuk where they can stay until the government sets up refugee camps.
Idris says that all the militants she saw were Arabs except for their leader. She says he was wearing different clothes. She thinks he was from Afghanistan. Orphan Mohammed says the Islamic State fighters were dirty and ugly. He motions with his hands to describe their long beards.
Idris says they left their money, phones and other valuables in their car back in Sinjar. Her uncle called Idris’ phone. The man who answered said in an Iraqi accent that he had killed five infidels. He said he was coming to Dohuk, Zakho and Irbil, because the Kurds are infidels, too.
Her uncle told the man on the other end that he wished he could see the man in person — so he could kill him. The militant told Idris’ uncle he would drink his blood.
“We have been told that after those events, Arabs took my brother,” Idris says. “We had five Arab neighbors. They were with ISIS because all of the Muslim Kurds and Yezidi Kurds were running away,” she explains. “But the Arabs stayed in their homes without any feeling of fear.”
During our interview, three of the 10 children Idris now cares for were playing around us. They were carrying toy guns they made out of scraps of wood. “We are Peshmerga and we are killing ISIS!” they yelled as they played.