Iraqi Kurdistan

Meet the Man Helping Yazidi Women Escape ISIS

khalil al dakhi

In the northwestern corner of Iraq, the streets in the shadow of Mount Sinjar are empty.

One man walks through the village, his name is Khalil al-Dakhi, and he is Yazidi, by religion. Before ISIS overran his village, Khalil was a lawyer. Now, he runs a network of secret contacts in Syria, who are helping him save Yazidi women and girls who have been taken and enslaved by ISIS.

PBS Frontline Documentary

Khalil’s story and more are covered in PBS Frontline’s much-anticipated documentary, Escaping ISIS, which is now available to watch online, for free. Escaping ISIS, features stories and interviews with Khalil and others, who are working to liberate those who are oppressed by the self-proclaimed terrorist group ISIS.

As many as 3,000 women and girls were taken captive by ISIS during its invasion of Yazidi territory last summer. More than 200,000 more were forced from their homes, and are now living in refugee camps in Iaqi Kurdistan.

Bringing Freedom to Slaves

In the documentary, Khalil shows us how he’s building a database of all the women who have escaped; as well as a database for all the women and girls who are still being held. Using this list of women and girls who are still being held, Khalil must wait until his contacts inside tell him that it’s safe for a rescue. Then, he coordinates an escape with his contacts, and meets the women and girls halfway between ISIS territory, and Kurdish safe haven in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Khalil says, “We know where most of them are being held. We’re even in contact with some of them. When they tell me their stories, I find it hard to believe. Sometimes I cry. I have to find out where they’re holding the [other] Yazidi girls. ”


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