There was no warning. Geraldine learned her son was dead from a text message sent by an Islamic State (Isis) commander. “Congratulations,” it read. “Be proud of him. He is now a martyr. Be happy he died fighting the unbelievers.”
Then came another message, this time from a young man who, like Anis, had travelled from Belgium to fight in Syria and had ended up with the extremist group.
Anis had died in combat, it told the bereaved mother, killed cleanly by a bullet between the eyes. “He had been buried on the field of battle and was missed by all his friends.”