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Australian Woman Journeys To War-Torn Syria To Find Grandchildren

Karen Nettleton, the Australian mother of a jihadi bride who died in Syria, is travelling to Raqqa to bring her five grandchildren back home to Australia. The brave grandmother first boarded a flight in Abu Dhabi and plans to travel through Turkey to reach war-torn Syria.

According to the Daily Mail, Ms. Nettleton is accompanied by a hired film crew and her trusted solicitor, Robert van Aalt. Before they were able to leave Australia, Ms. Nettleton and her party were rigorously questioned by customs officials and border patrol officers.

Ms. Nettleton’s 31-year-old daughter, Tara, passed away in 2015 after a slew of medical complications related to a botched surgery operation. Without access to medical treatment or expertise, Tara eventually died from appendicitis.

Ms. Nettleton’s friend and confidante, Robert van Aalt, told the Sydney Morning Herald about Ms. Nettleton’s reaction to the news: “(Karen) said it was the worst day of her life. And it was made worse because she could not be with her daughter when she was dying to give her comfort.”

Tara first arrived in Syria in 2014, after her jihadi husband, Khaled Sharrouf, convinced her to leave the country with her five children and travel to the then expanding Islamic Caliphate. In June 2016, Sharrouf was allegedly killed while fighting in Syria. This meant that Tara’s five children were now orphans in a brutal terrorist organization operating in a foreign war-torn country.

When Ms. Nettleton began trying to ascertain her grandchildren’s whereabouts, one of the first big pieces of information she stumbled across was that she was also a great grandmother. In a horrifying turn of events, Ms. Nettleton discovered that Tara’s eldest daughter, 14, who remains unnamed, had a child to another Australian-born jihadi named Mohamed Elomar (who was killed by an air strike).

When Ms. Nettleton announced her intention to travel to Syria, the Australian Foreign Ministry and Australian Federal Police warned her in no uncertain terms of the dangers she would be exposing herself to. Nevertheless, the courageous grandmother knew what she had to do.

When she left Australia, Ms. Nettleton had no idea where her grandchildren were, but believed that they were located in the city of Raqqa – then the unofficial capital of the Islamic State. Ms. Nettleton made this conclusion after reviewing pieces of Islamic State propaganda that featured Tara’s children.

Many online commenters have expressed their understanding of Ms. Nettleton’s actions. “I understand her reasons for going, they are her grandchildren,” said ‘ladyjay’ on the Daily Mail. “These people have no heart and i really do not want to think what the outcome of this could be.”

Another user, ’Say Hi’, used the story to encourage other parents to educate themselves about the danger posed by the Islamic fundamentalist terror group: “The time to stop your kids from joining is RIGHT NOW (remember the campaigns to talk to your kids about sex, drugs, etc.. this is the same thing!) I really feel for the families. They will probably kill her and use the children for their sick endeavours.”

Source: Daily Mail, Daily Mail
Photo: MailOnline, ABC

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