‘How I helped a young French couple return from waging jihad’

Oumar lives in Istanbul. In the past couple of years, he’s witnessed first hand the transformation of Turkey’s economic capital into a stopping point for men and women determined to wage jihad in Syria. But a few days ago, he was put in touch with a young French couple who had decided to make the same journey in the opposite direction. When the French consulate was unable to help, Oumar stepped in to lend a hand.

Oumar’s willingness to help stems from the fact that for him, the young couple’s predicament hit close to home. In February, his cousin – a deeply religious Muslim of French nationality – left her family to join other French nationals fighting with the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria. That was only a few weeks ago. Since then, Oumar has been looking for contacts and trying to find out more. His hunt for more information soon led him to cross paths with people whose stories closely resembled the plight of his own cousin. Then at the end of March, he came across a young French couple trying to make the same journey in reverse. The 19-year-old man had left for Syria around a year ago. He was later joined by his girlfriend. Once in Syria, they got married. Both come from the Paris region.

Gee. Thanks Pal.