Indonesian ISIS members stranded in Syria want to come home

Women and children living in Al Hol Camp which houses relatives of Islamic State, in northeastern Syria, on March 28, 2019.
Women and children living in Al Hol Camp which houses relatives of Islamic State, in northeastern Syria, on March 28, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesian ISIS members who are stuck in Syria after the extremist group lost its final patch of territory in the country are begging to come home.

Mariam Abdullah, one of about 50 Indonesians in the Al Hol camp in Syria, asked for help so that she and her family can return to Indonesia in a two-minute video posted on Indonesian online news outlet Tirto.id.

"We are asking for help so we can return home," Mariah said as quoted by Tirto.id.

Mariam claimed that she, her husband and four children were from Bandung, West Java.

She said she and her children had fled the Syrian village of Baghouz two days prior to the interview with the online news outlet.

Mariam told the reporter, Afshin Ismaeli, that her husband, Saifuddin, was missing.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 67,000 internally displaced people were living in the camp - which has a capacity of just 10,000 - as of March 14.

 
 
 

Many inmates suffer from hypothermia and various communicable diseases due to a shortage of health-care services. As of March 14, said WHO, 120 people including some 100 children aged below five had died.

But many Indonesian netizens showed no sympathy for Mariam as well as the other Indonesians who are in her situation.

One Twitter user, @rizamsyafiq, questioned why they joined ISIS, short for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, in the first place.

"They made a conscious decision to go there, betrayed the nation in the process, and are begging to come home after the Islamic State group lost. I only have one thing to tell them: suck it," he wrote on his account on Thursday.

Another user, @qlytooq, said: "Enjoy the paradise that you wanted, don't ever come back to Indonesia."