Eight months ago, Umm Haritha, a 20-year-old woman from Canada, made her way to Turkey against her parents’ wishes with a half-empty suitcase and $1,500.
Within a week she was in Syria, and a few weeks later she was married to Abu Ibrahim al-Suedi, a 26-year-old Palestinian from Sweden fighting for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Sunni jihadist group battling the Syrian regime.
It is not clear whether Umm Haritha’s marriage to Abu Ibrahim was arranged before her travel to Syria. Regardless, it only lasted five months.
On May 5, Abu Ibrahim, whose real name is Taha Shade, was in a car en route to a meeting in Deir ez-Zor with members of rival faction Jabhat al-Nusra. What was meant to be a gathering to finalize a peace treaty between ISIS and al-Nusra turned deadly when an al-Nusra fighter on a motorbike sped up to Shade’s car and detonated his explosive belt.
At the time, Shade was wearing his own explosive belt, which also went off and blew him to pieces.