Dutch teen who married IS jihadist in Syria returns home

  • Published
Monique on Dutch TV (screengrab)
Image caption,
The teenager's mother went against police advice to travel to Syria to bring back her daughter

A 19-year-old Dutch woman who went to Syria to marry an Islamic State fighter has been brought back home to the Netherlands by her mother.

The daughter, Aicha, was arrested after returning to her hometown of Maastricht, her lawyer told the BBC.

Her mother, Monique, made a hazardous journey to the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa to bring her daughter back.

Aicha is one of a number of European teenage girls and women to travel to Syria and Iraq to join IS jihadists.

She left the Netherlands in February to marry Yilmaz, a Dutch-Turkish jihadist who had once been in the Dutch military.

Image caption,
Yilmaz has used skills learned in the Dutch army to train fellow Islamist fighters

Monique, whose last name has not been released, first travelled to Turkey in October in a bid to track down her daughter, but failed to cross the border.

Monique told Dutch TV in September that her daughter had changed within a short period of time from an enthusiastic Dutch teenager to a radical Muslim, who was in social media contact with Yilmaz and ultimately fell in love with him.

"She saw him as a sort of Robin Hood," her mother said.

Media caption,

The BBC's Anna Holligan reports on the Dutch jihadis fighting in the Middle East

After the police were warned of her plans to travel to Syria, Aicha's passport was seized but she used her identity card instead.

Yilmaz told the BBC's Anna Holligan on Wednesday that he had married the Dutch teenager after another fighter she was due to marry was killed in fighting, but they later broke up. "It didn't work, we split. She went her way, I went my way," he said.

Last week, after a plea for help from her daughter, she went back, against the advice of police, travelling to Raqqa, the seat of Islamic State's so-called caliphate. She found her daughter and brought her back to Turkey. Yilmaz referred to her in a tweet as his ex-wife.

Aicha and her mother were held on the Turkish border before they were allowed to fly back to the Netherlands.

Dutch officials have refused to go into details about the case.

There have been several cases of European girls travelling to Syria, including two Austrian girls, aged 15 and 17, who went there in April. One of them was reported killed.