Khaleel al-Dakhi’s work began in September last year, when he started compiling details of all the women and children who had been kidnapped by ISIS. After talking to every family from Sinjar, he had a list of more than 3,000 names. But the next stage – a rescue attempt – was far more difficult...
...The girls who escaped without assistance were able to describe the ISIS territory to Khaleel, which helped him carry out his first rescue mission of five young girls. Women kidnapped by ISIS are often sold as slaves and live in the houses of their captors, and so Khaleel needs the details of their living situation before he can plan an escape.
Khaleel does not work alone. Instead, he constantly talks to a network of men who are trying to gather information, including allies living inside the ISIS area. They smuggle phones inside ISIS, so Khaleel can talk to the girls about where they're living and how many guards are present.
Khaleel has more than 100 contacts inside ISIS territory, and these men face incredible risks as they smuggle the women away from their captors and to a safe house inside ISIS territory. They make false ISIS ID cards and hide for up to 10 days, until the frontline fighting has died down and the coast is clear. Then Khaleel's contacts guide the women on foot across the ISIS territory and towards Sinjar, sometimes walking for two days and nights without a break. Thanks to their work, hundreds of women and girls have been saved. But three men who helped the women of Sinjar have been captured and killed by ISIS.
If Khaleel were captured by ISIS, he would undoubtedly meet the same fate. “Of course my life is in danger, but I have to rescue our girls and our women," he says. "I am never afraid, because I’m not better than all my people who were killed by ISIS. But I try to protect myself because there many of my people in ISIS jails waiting for me to rescue them. When I rescue one person from ISIS, I feel that I've had one victory against the terrorists.”
Read the full story Olivia Goldhill by at The Telegraph.