Turkish father saves daughter who joined ISIL in Syria
Melis Atıcı was radicalized in her 20’s after she fell for a jihadist named Yusuf two years ago, BBC Turkish reported on Jan. 15.
After Yusuf’s departure to Syria, Melis, too, left the Netherlands to join ISIL in Syria, disillusioned that she would “win a ticket to heaven.”
Her father, concerned about the situation, immediately alarmed the police.
For a very long time, the Atıcı family failed to establish contact with Melis, who had by then given birth to a baby from the jihadist.
Yusuf was killed in an airstrike, as the U.S.-led global coalition fighting ISIL intensified operations to drive out the group from swathes of territory in Syria. Widowed, Melis wanted to go back to her home in the Netherlands.
Having contacted her family, she told them she had intentions to return. Melis tried to cross the Syrian-Turkish border with the help of human traffickers. But she failed in her attempts and was taken to a camp run in northern Syria by the YPG, the U.S.’s main ally on the ground fighting ISIL.
Melis’ father, Faruk Atıcı, then decided to take the matter into his own hands and save his daughter and five-month-old grandson.
He went to Turkey several times and contacted human traffickers who he believed could take him to Melis.
Last summer, Faruk Atıcı went to northern Syria through Turkey and Iraq, traveling by taxi, a boat, on foot and sometimes even on a horse. He eventually got his daughter released from the camp in Syria.
The father and daughter reunited, they headed to the Dutch consulate in Erbil in northern Iraq, but were arrested for “entering the country illegally” by authorities.
Following their two-month detention in Iraq, the two were released and went back to the Netherlands six months ago.
Melis, however, was taken into custody on charges of “membership to a terrorist organization” as she set foot on Amsterdam Airport. She was jailed until Jan. 14.
In a hearing on Jan. 14, she was released pending trial, on condition that she wore an electronic ankle bracelet.