Fact Check: Rescued Women in Viral Video Are Yezidi, Not Hindu
The video shows Yezidi women being rescued from an ISIS camp in Syria by the Women's Protection Unit of the Syrian Democratic Forces
A video showing injured woman being rescued from a camp by military personnel is viral on the internet as a footage of Hindu women from India and Bangladesh being held as sex slaves by the Islamic State (ISIS). The video has been purportedly shared as evidence of the claim made in film "The Kerala Story" of Hindu women being abducted from India into sex-slavery by ISIS.
BOOM found these claims to be false; according to our fact-check the video shows Yezidi women being rescued from an ISIS camp in Syria by the Women's Protection Unit of the Syrian Democratic Forces in September 2022. Furthermore, we were unable to find any credible news reports on Indian women being liberated from ISIS camps in Syria.
Since the release of "The Kerala Story", BOOM has fact-check a number of false claims around the film. Read a few such stories here, here and here.
Also Read:32K Women Missing Claim Made By 'The Kerala Story' Does Not Add Up
BOOM received the video on its WhatsApp helpline number with the caption, "UN Army attacks ISIS tent, army and rescues 38 sex enslaved women from India and Bangladesh - majority Hindu girls. For those who don't believe *The Kerala Story* film, this is the proof. Look at the way the girls have been chained."
We also found the video circulating on Twitter and YouTube with similar captions.
Click here and here to view the above tweets.
BOOM did a reverse image search with keyframes from the viral video, which led us to a report by the media wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces - containing screenshots of the viral video.
According to the report, the video shows women being liberated from the previously-ISIS-controlled Al-Hol refugee camp by the YPJ, or Yekîneyên Parastina Jin (Women's Protection Unit) - an all-female militia unit of the SDF.
The report also contained a YouTube link to a longer version of the video. However, neither the report, not the video gave any indication that the women being rescued in the video were of Indian, Bangladeshi or Hindu descent.
Using relevant keyword searches, we found a statement by the United States Central Command on the rescue operation by the YPJ at al-Hol camp, which too did not contain any information suggesting that the women were from South Asia.
Finally, we found a Twitter thread by the Information and Documentation Department of the YPJ, which contained the viral video, along with further details on the rescue operation.
According to the thread, the women rescued in the video were Yezidi - a Kurdish minority group. We were unable to find any mention of women of South Asian-descent in the thread.
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