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Daring escape

French woman took toddler son to Syria to join ISIS and then changed her mind

By WITW Staff on January 13, 2016

Sophie Kasiki has been on a journey like few others in 2016. She has been to the Islamic State and back again, with her four-year-old son in tow. Kasiki, a French citizen who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo before emigrating to Paris as a child, converted to Islam while working as a social worker with Muslims in the Paris suburbs. There, she met three young men through her new religion and in September 2014 they traveled to Syria and quickly convinced her to come, too, and to bring along her toddler son. She worked in a hospital in Raqqa for 10 days before she realized she desperately wanted to go back home. ISIS soldiers threatened to kill her if she tried to leave, and punched her when she told them to leave her son alone.

“I was in a foreign city where I knew nobody and didn’t speak the language. I looked at my son and knew that I had made a monumental mistake, the worst of my life. I knew then I had to be strong and do everything possible to get him out of there,” she told The Observer in her first-ever interview.

Kasicki escaped from Raqqa, and then from Syria, secretly, under the cover of darkness, with help from other Syrians. And though she is once again living in Paris, her tale is a harrowing one.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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