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I am a 14-year-old Yazidi girl given as a gift to an Islamic State commander. Here’s how I escaped.

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Escaped from Islamic State militants … ‘Narin’ was deeply scarred by her ordeal. Photo: The Washington Post

This is the story told to me by a 14-year-old Yazidi girl I’ll call “Narin”, currently staying in northern Iraqi Kurdistan. I am a Kurdish journalist with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia who covers northern Iraq as a freelancer for several international news outlets. I heard about Narin’s tale through a Yazidi friend who knew her. Aside from translating from Kurdish and excerpting her story in collaboration with Washington Post editors, the only things I changed are all the names, at Narin’s request, to protect her and other victims from reprisal; many of her relatives are still in captivity.

As the sun rose over my dusty village on August 3, relatives called with terrifying news: Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) were coming for us. I’d expected just another day full of household tasks in Tel Uzer, a quiet spot on the western Nineveh plains of Iraq, where I lived with my family. Instead, we scrambled out of town on foot, taking only our clothes and some valuables.

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