THE INDEPENDENT: The first Western journalist in the world to be allowed extensive access to Isis territories in Syria and Iraq has returned from the region with a warning: the group is “much stronger and much more dangerous” than anyone in the West realises. Jürgen Todenhöfer, 74, is a renowned German journalist and publicist who travelled through Turkey to Mosul, the largest city occupied by Isis, after months of negotiations with the group’s leaders. Once within Isis territory, Todenhöfer said his strongest impression was “that Isis is much stronger than we think here”. He said it now has “dimensions larger than the UK”, and is supported by “an almost ecstatic enthusiasm that I have never encountered in any other warzone. Each day, hundreds of willing fighters arrive from all over the world,” he told tz. “For me it is incomprehensible.” MORE
CNN: “Slavery absolutely signals progress,” the ISIS spokesman, a German citizen, said. “Only ignorant people believe that there is no slavery among the Christians and the Jews. Of course there are woman who are forced into prostitution under the worst circumstances. “I would say that slavery is a great help to us and we will continue to have slavery and beheadings, it is part of our religion … many slaves have converted to Islam and have then been freed.”
“I think the Islamic State is a lot more dangerous than Western leaders realize,” TodenhoEfer said. “They believe in what they are fighting for and are preparing the largest religious cleansing campaign the world has ever seen.”
TODENHOFER: “What about the 150 million Shia, what if they refuse to convert?” Todenhoefer asked.
ISIS SPOKESMAN: “150 million, 200 million or 500 million, it does not matter to us,” the fighter answered. “We will kill them all.” MORE
BUSINESS INSIDER: Women and girls from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority forced into sexual slavery by the Islamic State jihadist group have committed suicide or tried to, Amnesty International said on Tuesday. IS militants have overrun swathes of Iraq since June, declared a cross-border caliphate also encompassing parts of neighbouring Syria, and carried out a litany of abuses in both countries. The group has targeted Yazidis and other minorities in north Iraq in a campaign that rights group Amnesty said amounted to ethnic cleansing, murdering civilians and enslaving others for a fate that some captives consider even worse than death. “Many of those held as sexual slaves are children — girls aged 14, 15 or even younger,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, said in a statement.
A 19-year-old named Jilan committed suicide out of fear she would be raped, Amnesty quoted her brother as saying. A girl who was held with her but later escaped confirmed the account, saying: “One day we were given clothes that looked like dance costumes and were told to bathe and wear those clothes. Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself. She was very beautiful; I think she knew she was going to be taken away by a man and that is why she killed herself.” Another former captive told the rights group that she and her sister tried to kill themselves to escape forced marriage, but were stopped from doing so. “We tied… scarves around our necks and pulled away from each other as hard as we could, until I fainted… I could not speak for several days after that,” Wafa, 27, told the rights group. MORE
BBC: Hannan says the jihadists blocked Sinjar’s roads with their pick-up trucks. She was turned back to town, where women and girls were separated from everyone else. “There were 20 of them, with long beards and weapons. They said: ‘You’re coming to Mosul.’ We refused. They hit us and dragged us to their cars.” She was taken with other women to a sports hall. Then, after a couple of weeks, to a wedding hall. In one place, there were 200 women and girls. These were slave markets. IS fighters could come to take their pick.
“We didn’t dare look at their faces. We were so afraid. One girl came back after she had been used as a sex slave and told us everything. After that, IS did not allow anyone else to return. “They were shooting to scare us. They took whomever they wanted, by force. We were crying the whole time. We wanted to kill ourselves but we couldn’t find a way.” One girl did manage to kill herself, Hannan tells me. “She slashed her wrists. They didn’t let us help her. They put us in a room and shut the door. She died. They said: ‘It doesn’t matter, we’ll just dump the body somewhere.'” MORE
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Escape From Hell: Torture And Sexual Slavery In Islamic State Captivity In Iraq
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES: As the Isis (now known as Islamic State) terror group continues to consolidate its self-declared “caliphate” in territory seized in its march across north-eastern Syria and northern Iraq, a map has been released that details the “ten-state solution” it hopes to achieve over the next decade. Walid Shoebat, a former Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) terrorist turned Islamic scholar, has translated the Arabic map of the expansionist caliphate to show the Balkans, Spain and Portugal are long-term targets for the militants. The group, which stemmed from al-Qaeda and the Salafist ideology, rejects the notion of nationalism, aiming to remove secular governments and replace them with a pan-Islamic caliphate. Worringly, the Balkan states would fall under “Orobpa” and Portugal and Spain would fall under “Andalus”, according to this expansionist vision. In the ten-state solution, Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria (Sham) would be the primary fixtures of the caliphate, with Lebanon included in Sham. Further secular states that would fall under IS’s control include Turkey (Anatolia) as well as the Commonwealth of Independent States (Gogaz), which include Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. MORE