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Iraq: Christian woman released after three years in captivity

30 August 2017

Christian woman released after three years in captivity

Three years after being captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), Rana Esso (pictured), a Christian woman, has been released!

She returned home to her family in Qaraqosh on Monday 28 August. She was liberated in the suburbs of Tal Afar in north west Iraq.

Video footage on social media show Rana's return being celebrated by a cheering crowd, with local music and dance of Christians in Qaraqosh. A local contact of Open Doors says, "All Qaraqosh people were celebrating her release!"

Three Yazidi women were also released with Rana, though very little information is known about them currently. The Yazidi population, an independent religious minority in Iraq, suffered severely under the reign of IS in this region of Iraq.

The release of Rana and Yazidi women follows a week of intense fighting in and around Tal Afar, which is seen as one of the last remaining strongholds in Iraq.

Please pray:

  • Praise God for the release of these four women
  • For their healing, physically and emotionally, following this traumatic experience
  • For freedom for those who remain in IS captivity
  • For peace in Iraq and restoration for the Iraqi people.


While the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) have largely been driven out of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain in Iraq, they have left terrible devastation behind them. In Syria, the war rages on, and Christians continue to be a target for Islamic extremists.

Incredibly, there are Christians who are choosing to stay in the Middle East, the birth place of Christianity, because they believe that God has called them to shine as lights in the darkest of days. They have a vision to rebuild their homes and communities.

But this won't happen overnight. This is why the global Hope for the Middle East campaign is a seven-year campaign. Your support is keeping hope alive for thousands of families in Iraq and Syria, and we must continue to walk with them for as long as they need us. Alongside prayer, here are three things you can do to support your persecuted brothers and sisters:

More News from Iraq:

Find out more about persecution in Iraq.