Layla, a nurse who had worked for ISIS in Syria, said that she had been forced to perform abortions on ISIS slave girls when they became pregnant. She described how she had sedated her children so that she could safely escape with them to Lebanon under garbage bags in the back of a pickup truck. Ayman, who is Layla's husband, described an incident where he and several men were arrested by ISIS members, who then killed the men who were unable to recite any verses from the Quran. Layla and Ayman are currently living in Lebanon. They were interviewed on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) on November 8, 2018.
Following are excerpts:
Layla: "You must cover yourself from head to toe. Even the palms of your hands must not show. You must wear black gloves, or else... Once, there was an incident with an old woman who used to work at the market. Obviously, she dressed the way they wanted, but she needed her hands for work so she took her gloves off. Simply because she told them that she could not wear gloves while working, one of them took out a pistol and shot her, right in front of her son. Her young son was standing there. They shot her and took the boy. They took him so they could teach him whatever they wanted. My life was very difficult – everything was haram, everything was prohibited."
Ayman: "We heard a knock on the door. I opened the door and was surprised to see five ISIS members. They took all the young men, put us in a car, and took us to their place. We all sat down there with our hands tied behind our backs. They asked each one of us what he could recite from the Quran. The first one could not remember any verses. They left him and moved to the next one. He remembered only a little bit. They moved on to the next one, until eventually they got to me. They told me to recite a verse. I recited: 'Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak"...' Afterwards, they started whipping the men who could not recite any verses. Then they removed the covers from our eyes, so they could show us what they were doing to the others, as a lesson. We stood up and they removed the covers from our faces. They removed the first man's hood, put a knife to his neck, and slaughtered him. Then they slaughtered the second one. Here, I was..."
Layla: "Once, they brought a few young men to the town square and covered their faces. They gathered everybody there – women, children, old people... They put the young men in the middle of the square and told everybody to watch. This was meant to be a lesson for everybody. Imagine that someone brings a person before you, takes a knife, says 'Allah Akbar,' and slaughters that person just like a sheep. They did it to several people in order to instill fear in us, to let us know that the same thing will happen to us if we do something wrong."
Interviewer: "Layla, tell us what ISIS made you do as a nurse in their service."
Layla: "First of all, it was all done against my will. I didn't do anything because I wanted to do it. I was forced to do so in order to protect my children and my family, and in order to find a way out. They have a thing called 'slaves girls.' The most haram thing to do is to perform an abortion, to kill a life, but we were forced to perform abortions on the slave girls if they got pregnant."
Interviewer: "Layla, when did you decide to leave ISIS?"
Layla: "When I saw that the time was right, and when I found a way to get out safely without anybody getting hurt... It is not so easy, of course. You have to take everything into account. You have to find someone you can trust, someone who would help you out of there. At that time, there was a guy who used to collect the garbage in a pickup truck. They would take a big pickup truck and put the garbage in it. The idea was that they would hide us under the garbage bags. Since I worked as a nurse and all the drugs were within my reach... I had to give the children a sedative, because children cannot keep quiet, and if they would make any noise, we would be discovered. I took the sedative and gave each child a little bit until they all fell asleep. Then we put the garbage bags over them."
Interviewer: "Ayman, didn't it bother you that your wife worked with the organization that kidnapped you from your home, imprisoned you, and tortured you?"
Ayman: "It bothered me, but I later realized that she did the right thing."
Interviewer: "How do you see your future? Do you think about leaving? Do you think about staying in Lebanon, or maybe about returning to Syria?"
Layla: "Syria? No. Not Syria. Just the idea of returning to Syria frightens me. After all I have seen, the idea of returning to Syria frightens me."