Nicole Lynn Mansfield, an American woman from Michigan, was killed during a firefight against pro-government forces in Syria. That much is almost certain. Syria’s state-run media released an entire package, including video, to announce that they had killed three westerners fighting with the rebel forces, including a woman identified as Mansfield.
The package included photographs of a woman’s body and Mansfield’s Michigan driver’s license.
The FBI visited the Mansfield family in Flint, MI on Thursday to show them the picture and confirm the identification. Her daughter Triana Jones had already been worried, according to an interview Jones later gave to CNN: “She said, ‘I might not be home in a week, somebody stole my ID.'”
But Jones already suspected that Nicole Lynn Mansfield was fighting for the rebels in Syria. She’d converted to Islam a number of years ago: “She was just an American woman who was misguided,” Jones said.
The New York Times posted a similar statement that Triana Lynn Mansfield, also known as Triana Jones, had reportedly posted on Facebook, although it seems to have been removed:
“My mother was NOT a terrorist. She went there for a reason that is unknown. But believe this-SHE WAS FORCED TO STAY. She told me she would be back in a week. Last time my family talked to her she said someone stole her ID. How did her ID end up on national television? They forced her to stay and die for media publicity.”
Another woman who studied Islam at a Flint mosque with Nicole Mansfield told the NYT that Mansfield was seeking peace and wanted to help people. But Mansfield also reportedly texted that woman to say that she was coming home. So it’s difficult to say if anyone knew what Mansfield was really doing, thinking, or planning.
The family wants her body brought home. And everyone from the State Department to the FBI to her daughter wants answers about what dragged a formerly peace-seeking religious woman into the fighting.
Nicole Lynn Mansfield is the first American killed in the Syrian civil war.
[Syrian civil war photo by Voice of American News via Wikimedia Commons]