Indonesia's ISIS members stranded in Syria beg to go home

Women and children who fled ISIS' last areas of control in Syria at the Al Hol camp last Thursday. Approximately 67,000 internally displaced people were living in the camp, which has a capacity of 10,000, as of March 14.
Women and children who fled ISIS' last areas of control in Syria at the Al Hol camp last Thursday. Approximately 67,000 internally displaced people were living in the camp, which has a capacity of 10,000, as of March 14.PHOTO: NYTNS

JAKARTA • Indonesian members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who are stuck in Syria after the extremist group lost its final patch of territory in the country are begging to return 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," Mariam 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 of those in the camp are suffering from hypothermia and various communicable diseases due to a shortage of healthcare services. As of March 14, said WHO, 120 people including some 100 children aged below five had died.

 
 
 

But many netizens in Indonesia have no sympathy for Mariam and other Indonesians in her situation.

One Twitter user, @rizamsyafiq, questioned why they joined ISIS 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 last Thursday.

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

JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 31, 2019, with the headline 'Indonesia's ISIS members stranded in Syria beg to go home'. Print Edition | Subscribe