Marilyn Nevalainen was just 15 years old, and pregnant, when she left Sweden with a jihadist recruit, though she did not realize what a mistake she had made until she was in Iraq. This is the story of the ISIS savagery against Western recruits that fall into their barbaric nets.
Marilyn, desperate, called home from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul in northern Iraq begging for help, and was ultimately rescued by Kurdish forces.
On Friday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Veronica Nordlund told AFP that Nevalainen, who is originally from the southwestern Swedish town of Boras, has “returned to Sweden with her family”.
She landed Thursday in Stockholm with her parents, who had traveled to Iraq several times over the past eight months to try to bring her home, according to regional newspaper Boras Tidning.
Police said her boyfriend, a Moroccan who reached Sweden as an unaccompanied minor three years ago, was dead.
Kurdish forces rescued the girl near Mosul on February 17, according to a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Security Council.
Nordlund would not reveal many details of the rescue, though she confirmed it was the result of “collaboration between the Swedish authorities and foreign governments”.
In an interview broadcast this week by TV channel Kurdistan 24, the Swede said in broken English that she met her boyfriend in 2014 and that he became radicalized after watching IS videos.
“Then he said he wanted to go to ISIS (another acronym for IS) and I said, ‘Okay, no problem,’ because I did not know what ISIS meant or what Islam was,” she said.
She was pregnant when they left Sweden in May 2015, taking trains and buses across Europe until they finally crossed the border from Turkey to Syria. They were then driven by IS jihadists to Mosul when abuse started.
ISIS has committed horrific abuses against the civilian population in both war-torn countries, including kidnapping and forcing thousands of women and girls into sexual slavery.
AFP contributed to this article.