Mom rescues daughter from ISIS in Syria

A mother from Maastricht has single-handedly rescued her daughter from the Syrian city of Raqqa. Raqqa is regarded as the capital city of the caliphate of the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS).

According to the Limburg media, the pair, mother Monique and 19 year old Aïcha, is currently held in Turkey because the girl is traveling without a passport. Lawyer Francoise Landerloo will mediate in Turkey to return the pair to the Netherlands. She says that the reunion between mother and daughter was "emotional".

Aïcha traveled to Turkey in February. In the months before her departure she converted to Islam and became radicalized. She planned to marry Yilmaz, a Turkish-Dutch jihadist and ex-soldier, in Syria.

A Whatsapp message to her lawyer Landerloo in April was the last sign that Monique had that Aïcha was alive. The message read: "Love that you are so worried. Sometimes you got to do what you got to do. This is what I think is right."

In October Monique traveled to Syria to try and rescue her daughter, but it was in vain. Once Monique returned to the Netherlands, she received a "cry for help" from her daughter. "She wants to come home, but can not leave Raqqa without help", says lawyer Landerloo.

Monique went to the Maastricht police for help, but in vain. They warned her not to go to Syria as it is too dangerous and the providing assistance to a jihadists is punishable. But Monique wouldn't be stopped. Wrapped in a body-covering veil, Monique once again traveled to the caliphate and this time successfully found her daughter.

Below is an excerpt of an EenVandaag broadcast from September, in which Monique and other parents warn about Muslim recruitment:

The two managed to escape, but were arrested and detained at the Turkish border. According to Landerloo, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is mediating their return from Turkey and expects that the two will be back in the Netherlands within a week.

In an interview with NL Times a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign affairs remarked that the Netherlands has issued a travel advisory for Syria. The message is: "Don't go there, and if you are there, leave the country."

When asked whether the Ministry is concerned about parents traveling to Syria to rescue their family from ISIS, the spokesperson responded: "Our embassy in Turkey is sometimes in contact with parents, but there is not an overload or a wave of parents phoning them." For this reason the Ministry does not expect a surge of parents to follow Monique's example.

Earlier this month the National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and Security (NCTV) announced plans to set up an independent support system for jihadists' families. This support center is intended to offer assistance to parents like Monique.