For ten long days, Ghazala Elyas lived under the self-proclaimed caliphate of the group that calls itself the Islamic State.
Mrs Elyas, 80, is in remission for cancer, but remains bed-ridden for a host of other conditions, including diabetes. She recounted her story from a half-built apartment block in Ankawa, the Christian quarter of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. She shares the space with more than 500 others from the majority Christian village of Karamlish, which she finally evacuated less than a week ago.
Ankawa has seen its population explode with the arrival of an estimated 32,5000 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) since the IS captured Mosul, 92 kilometres west of Erbil, in June and subsequently set about taking over numerous nearby towns and villages as well.
When all but 11 of Mrs Elyas’s fellow villagers fled Karamlish on the night of August 6, she and her sister-and-law locked the doors and hoped for the best.
They held out for five days, oblivious of what was going on outside, until they ran out of food and water and were forced to allow the militants into their home.