19 Yazidi Girls Burned Alive in Iron Cages Because They Refused To Have Sex With ISIS Militants

Jun 07, 2016 11:09 AM EDT

A number of Yazidi girl who refused to have sexual relations with Islamic State militants were placed in iron cages and burned alive in Mosul, Iraq, a horrific new report has revealed.

"The 19 girls were burned to death, while hundreds of people were watching," a witness said, Fox News reports. "Nobody could do anything to save them from the brutal punishment."

"They were punished for refusing to have sex with ISIS militants," local activist Abdullah al-Malla added.

Mosul, formerly home to thousands of Christians, is Iraq's second-largest city and is considered to be the main stronghold for the terror group in the region.

According to a local media outlet, after overtaking Mosul in June of 2014, ISIS militants began selecting women and girls, forcing them into "temporary marriages." However, hundreds of women refused to comply with the fighter's demands, and were subsequently executed, along with their families.

"At least 250 girls have so far been executed by the IS for refusing to accept the practice of sexual jihad, and sometimes the families of the girls were also executed for rejecting to submit to IS's request," Kurdish Democratic Party spokesman Said Mamuzini told London-based Kurdish news agency AhlulBayt earlier this year.

Another official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party Ghayas Surchi said that human rights were being widely violated in all IS-held territories, particularly the women's rights as they are seen as commodities. Women in such regions are not permitted to go out in public, and have no choice in choosing their spouses.

Currently, the group in Iraq and Syria is holding 1,800 abducted women and girls, while the U.N. puts the number at 3,500 Yazidis. Some of the girls have even been put up for sale on social media platforms, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.

"The longer they are held by ISIS, the more horrific life becomes for Yazidi women, bought and sold, brutally raped, their children torn from them," said Skye Wheeler, a women's rights emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch, according to ARA News.

Last August, 19 women in Mosul were slaughtered for refusing to have sex with IS fighters. A year prior, up to 500 Yazidi women and girls were kidnapped and sexually abused by the militants, and October, more than 500 Yazidi women and young girls were abducted by the ISIS when they stormed the Sinjar region in northern Iraq.

As earlier reported, over 100 of the Yazidi women who escaped ISIS after their mountain stronghold was attacked in August 2014 recently signed up to fight against the jihadist group.

The women, known as the "Force of Sun Ladies," are officially fighting alongside Kurdish Peshmerga forces, while another 500, ranging in age from 17 to 37, are waiting to be trained.

"Now we are defending ourselves from the evil; we are defending all the minorities in the region," Capt. Khatoon Khider told Fox News. "We will do whatever is asked of us."

"We have a lot of our women in [nearby] Mosul being held as slaves. Their families are waiting for them. We are waiting for them. The liberation might help bring them home," she added.