November 25th, 2019
‘I approached a small, thin woman, hunched under her all-encompassing black robe. … [S]he was nineteen years old… When she was thirteen, she said, ISIS fighters arrived in her village near Aleppo and took her with them when they moved on. Since then, she had been married four times to foreigners and twice to Syrian fighters—six husbands in as many years. Each time a husband was “martyred”—meaning killed in battle—she was passed on to another. “How do you feel about that?” I asked. “It was fine because I was following the word of the Prophet,” she replied, speaking as if by rote. She showed no emotion. “All of this is for the glory of God.” Haj Omar told me that she had been unable to have children, that she felt weak all the time and suffered persistent vaginal bleeding. I asked why she thought that might be. “I was injured in the womb by bombing,” she said. In her eyes, all the ills that befell her were caused by the Americans, who had not only pursued her and her husbands from place to place with their aerial attacks but also sponsored the mainly Kurdish forces that fought ISIS on the ground. To me, it seemed more likely that being handed on from one man to the next from such a young age was the cause of her gynecological problems, but this did not appear to have occurred to her.’

Snapshots from the Caliphate.

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