LONDON: An American-born girl who grew up under the control of Daesh is set to be returned to the US from a Syrian detention camp, a former diplomat has said.
Aminah Mohamad, 8, who was born in Chattanooga in Tennessee, was rescued from the camp thanks to information provided to Peter Galbraith, US ambassador to Croatia from 1993 to 1998, by a Canadian woman who has since left and denounced Daesh.
Mohamad’s mother, Ariel Bradley, reportedly fled the US to join the terrorist group in 2014 after converting to Islam from Christianity and marrying the girl’s father, Yasin Mohammed, in 2011.
Bradley and her second child, also born under Daesh control in Al-Bab, were reportedly killed in an airstrike by the US-led anti-Daesh coalition in 2018. The girl’s father was also killed, making her an orphan.
She was then left in the custody of one of her stepfather’s other wives, a Somali woman who remained a staunch supporter of Daesh, before her rescue began.
Galbraith and the Canadian woman, speaking to news outlet BuzzFeed, detailed their 18-month operation to secure the girl’s release from the camp, which included hiding her identity from Kurdish camp guards or anyone who might reveal her American nationality.
“Children in the camps have the worst start to life,” the woman, who chose to remain anonymous out of fear for her safety, said.
“They are already traumatized by losing one or more parents and growing up around violence, poverty, and misery. They deal with constant danger, lack of food, lack of education, and their lives are simply going to waste,” she told BuzzFeed.
Mohammed, who was removed from the camp on July 17, is now in a secure location in northeast Syria and has been interviewed by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism about her life under Daesh. She is undergoing DNA testing to certify her US citizenship.
“The United States has repatriated 12 adult US citizens and 16 US citizen minors from Syria and Iraq,” the US State Department told BuzzFeed News.
“Of the adults, the Department of Justice has charged 10 with federal criminal charges. We have no comment on specific numbers of US citizens remaining in facilities in northeast Syria.”
Galbraith, who has spent decades as a key figure in US dealings with the Kurdish people, also helped secure the release of the Canadian woman who is now waiting in Iraq to return to Canada.