A Syrian woman went from being a school teacher to a member of the all-female ISIS brigade of fighters. During an interview with CNN the women, who called herself Khadija (not her real name), detailed her journey both to and ultimately away from the Islamic State.
Khadija, 25, stated during the interview that she became disillusioned with the brutality of ISIS. The former Islamic State fighter grew up in Syria. Her family made sure that she was presented with a good education, and she was able to earn a college degree. Before joining the ISIS all-female brigade, Khadija was teaching in an elementary school. The woman describes her family as "not overly conservative."
After the Syrian uprising started more than three years ago, Khadija joined many others in peaceful protests against President Bashar al-Assad.
"We'd go out and demonstrate. The security services would chase us. We'd write on walls, have different outfits to change into. Those days were great," she told CNN during her first interview since leaving ISIS.
Once the political uprising turned into a bloody civil war, Khadija felt she was losing her humanity.
"Everything around us was chaos. Free Syrian Army, the regime, barrel bombs, strikes, the wounded, clinics, blood – you want to tear yourself away, to find something to run to. My problem was I ran away to something uglier," the ISIS defector added.