Dutch mother travels to heart of ISIS stronghold to rescue teenage daughter

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria billboards are seen along a street in Raqqa, eastern Syria, which is controlled by the group, on October 29, 2014. The billboard on the right reads: "We will win despite the global coalition". -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria billboards are seen along a street in Raqqa, eastern Syria, which is controlled by the group, on October 29, 2014. The billboard on the right reads: "We will win despite the global coalition". -- PHOTO: REUTERS

A MOTHER'S love knows no bounds. That saying is true at least for one woman from the Netherlands, who journeyed right into the heart of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) dominion to save her teenage daughter from the clutches of the militant group, Western news media has reported.

The mother known only as Monique made the treacherous journey last week to Raqqa, seen by ISIS as the capital of what they have declared as their caliphate, from her home city of Maastricht and managed to bring her daughter back, reported the BBC.

"It is quite remarkable that the mother managed to find and get her daughter," the family's lawyer told the media, reported Britain's The Telegraph.

The teen was arrested upon arrival in Maastricht, the lawyer told the BBC.

Monique had told Dutch TV two months ago that her daughter Aicha, 19, formerly a vivacious Dutch teenager, became a radical Muslim shortly after converting at age 18.

Aicha saw Omar Yilmaz, a former Dutch soldier turned militant, being interviewed on TV, according to The Telegraph, and kept in social media contact with him.

After falling head over heels in love with him, Aicha left the Netherlands in February and married him, becoming one of a number of young women who have gone to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS.

"She saw him as a sort of Robin Hood," the BBC quoted Monique as saying.

Yilmaz later told the BBC that he had married Aicha, but the couple eventually "split". "She went her way, I went my way," he told the BBC.

Aicha, feeling disillusioned by the life she had chosen to lead, sent a plea of help to her mother, Monique said. They arranged over Facebook to meet.

"She wanted to go home, but could not leave Raqqa without help," The Algemeen Dagblad newspaper reported her as telling family and friends. "Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. This is what I think is right."

The authorities in the Netherlands warned Monique about the dangers of heading to the region, and even told her that she herself could be charged with "providing assistance" to militants like her daughter.

But the mother threw caution to the wind, ignored the warnings and went anyway.

Dressed in a burka, according to The Telegraph, Monique travelled from Turkey to Syria, and met her daughter in Raqqa. The duo then escaped back across the border to Turkey, where Aicha was arrested for not having a passport.

Dutch officials arranged to bring the mother and daughter back home from Turkey.