A Syrian woman has revealed how she was lured away from her life as a school teacher and became a member of a female ISIS brigade before fleeing the group after witnessing crucifixions and beheadings.
The defector, only known as Khadija, grew up in Syria and taught elementary school pupils in the country, but left her old life after being convinced to join ISIS by a man she met online.
She became a member of the group’s female brigade, who are tasked with patrolling the streets of Raqqa, making sure other women adhere to the rules of the Islamic State.
But after witnessing violence such as crucifixions and beheadings, she became disillusioned and fled the group, and has now reached safety in Turkey. The 25-year-old told her story on CNN, saying at first she joined the protests against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, before meeting a Tunisian man online, who persuaded her to join the Islamic State.
She eventually moved to Raqqa, where she joined the Khansa’a brigade, who patrol the streets making sure women wear the clothing approved by the Islamic State. Khadija was also trained to dismantle and fire weapons and paid $200 a month. She explained that those found not to be adhering to the rules are lashed by a brigade member known as Umm Hamza.