“Father of the brave”

Underground network rescues enslaved captives from ISIS

A man living in Iraqi Kurdistan has developed an underground network throughout Syria working to rescue Yazidi women and children held captive by members of ISIS. Hundreds of people were kidnapped after the ISIS rampage through Yazidi-dominated areas of Iraq. The rescuer goes by Abu Shujaa, meaning “father of the brave,” a nickname he was given after he made several illegal trips into Syria during the rule of Saddam Hussein. Over time, Shujaa has built up a network of people across Syria, specifically in ISIS-controlled territory that embarks on missions to rescue the captives. The jihadis keep the women as sex slaves, indoctrinate the young boys and train the older ones to carry guns. Through various means, and sometimes after having communicated with the captors, the women and children are rescued and taken to safe houses in ISIS territory before being transported somewhere safer. Despite the underground nature of Shujaa’s missions, they do not go completely unnoticed by the militants, but their messages threatening to condemn him to a fate in “hell” are not enough to deter him from his work. His network existed before ISIS took control and he realized the potential of his connections. “There needs to be someone to try to get them out. It doesn’t mean I’m better or braver than the rest,” he said.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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