Arbil (Iraq) (AFP) - They were threatened, forced to spit on a crucifix or convert to Islam, but a handful of Iraqi Christians miraculously survived more than two years under Islamic State group rule.
When the jihadists swept across the Nineveh Plain in northern Iraq in August 2014 and told Christians to convert, pay tax, leave or die, around 120,000 of them fled.
Now that Iraqi forces have retaken many of those areas around the city of Mosul, stories are emerging of those who did not get a chance to leave and faced one of the three other options.
Ismail Matti was 14 when IS militants stormed his hometown of Bartalla, east of Mosul.
He waited for relatives who had already fled to come back for him and his sick mother, Jandar Nasi, but nobody did.