From slavery to freedom: Düha’s return to Raqqa

Ruhenda Amed

RAQQA – Düha, who was born in Raqqa, was abducted by Deash and forced to marry a member of gangs. Düha faced torture for not allowing two Êzidî children to be sold as “contraband of war” by gangs’ members. She escaped from captivity and she is now a freedom fighter and she returns to Raqqa to rescue her three sisters from Deash.

The advance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continues in the phase to liberate Raqqa, launched under the name “the Great Battle”. The women, children and civilians, rescued by the SDF fighters say “Hello” to the life and freedom again. One of these women is Düha Mustafa Hammad. Düha escaped from Deash member she forced to marry and now she wants to fight for her abducted three sisters.

Oppression increased when Deash occupied the city

Düha’s mother is an Arap woman from Grê Spî and her father was a Turkmen. Düha lost her father when she was a child and her mother left them. Düha lived with her siblings in Raqqa and her struggle began when she was a child. Düha had to leave school after fourth grade. She was also subjected to persecution by her stepsiblings. She tried to hold on to life with her siblings. But her life became a hell after Deash occupied Raqqa. Düha was forced to marry a Deash member named Ebu Usayd El Cezrawi, from Sudan, by her stepsister’s husband and she was taken away from her three sisters. Düha said her stepsister’s husband was also a Deash member and her three sisters are held in Motez Neighborhood of Raqqa.

‘I was a prisoner in the house’

After her marriage, Düha couldn’t go out, “I wanted to divorce the week I was married but gangs’ members told me I didn’t have that right. I was a prisoner in the house. Three months later, I learned I was pregnant. My husband, Deash member, wanted me to have an abortion but I didn’t want that,” said Düha.

She rescued Êzidî children

Düha said almost all women faced the same treatment but the abducted women faced the worst treatment. Düha mentioned that there were the Êzidî women and children among them. “I was a prisoner at home. One day, my husband brought two girls to home. They didn’t cover their hair and I asked who they are. My husband told me “They are infidel, they are Êzidîs” and he told me to not talk to them. I talked to two girls when my husband wasn’t at home. One of them was 13 years old another was 16 years old. They asked me to help them to escape. I told them I would try. At night, my husband returned to home with a strange man. The man came to see the Êzidî girls. I secretly listened to them and I heard my husband would sell the girls for 22,000 USD. When my husband and the man left the home, I went to see my friend living next to my home. I took the two Êzidî children out home with my friend Esma and her husband.”

Later, Düha heard the Êzidî children went to Turkey and she hasn’t had any news since.

She was subjected to torture to rescue the Êzidî children!

Düha said she had felt take revenge from Deash when she had rescued the two Êzidî children. “My husband returned to home. When he didn’t find the children he asked me where they were. I told him I was sleeping and I didn’t see anything. “You are lying,” he said and began to beat me. Of course I denied that I helped the children. After the torture, he took me to Deash’s asayish department called El Hisba and gave me to them. They tortured me for a week by using electricity and whip.”

Düha went to stay with her friends when she was released. She stayed there for three months and she gave birth there. When her husband learned that he took her baby away from her.

Düha stated that she hasn’t had any news from her baby for eight months. Düha was rescued on the 40th day of the operation launched by SDF fighters to rescue the civilians.

Düha wanted to join the YPJ after being rescued and she wants to rescue her three sisters from Deash and to take revenge from Deash.

Düha took off the black burqa when she arrived to the YPJ position and started to ululate.

“The gangs’ members came here for these black burqas, now I am taking off this black burqa and the victory is ours,” Düha said she would continue to resist.

Another rescued woman joined Düha and they ululated together.