After government forces reclaimed several Christian villages and towns in northern Iraq, Iraqi Christians have now spoken about the suffering that they experienced while living under the rule of the Islamic State for more than two years, Christian Times reports.

Many of those who weren’t able to seek refuge when ISIS took over the Nineveh Plain in 2014 are now able to tell the horrors they’ve experienced under the jihadists’ rule.

“There were Shiite people crammed in a cell next to ours — they took one, shot him in the head and dragged his body in front of us. They told my mother the same thing would happen to me if we refused to convert. So we converted,” said Ismail Matti who was caught by the militants before he and his mother were able to escape.

Matti disclosed that they were released from prison and sent to the village of Shurikhan where their neighbors were all members of ISIS. If any neighbor found out that he hadn’t been to the mosque to pray, he was punished by lashings.

Zarifa Bakoos Daddo, a 77-year-old resident of Qaraqosh, had to remain with her 90-year old husband who eventually died. She revealed that the younger jihadists were cruel and forced her to convert to Islam. She was robbed of her possessions but luckily, was not physically harmed.

Meantime, CBN News reports that Christians who have left their homes have launched a spiritual effort to make their way home. The “Return Festival” is a worship celebration and prayer meeting of Iraqi Christians.

“The original idea of this event is to bring Christians together to pray for their land,” Mahar Barbary, with Life Agape told CBN News. “Because their land has been taken by ISIS and we believe that this land needs to be cleansed. And we believe as we pray for this land, people will go back we believe for a new spirit, for a new situation.”

Christiantimescom. (2016). Christiantimescom.

Cbncom. (2016). CBNcom (beta).

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Joyce has more than 15 years experience writing news, industry articles and blogs for the private and public sectors. Most of her career was spent writing technical documentation for a software company in the Philippines. She earned a B.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in writing from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. During her leisure time, Joyce pursues her interest in reading fiction and playing with her dogs. She can be contacted at
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