No regrets for woman who stuck by Islamic State through defeats

NEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) – Heading to a camp for displaced people as Islamic State’s territorial “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria faces final defeat, Ghalia Ali shows no regret about abandoning her life as a student in Tunisia to join the militants in 2014.

The young Tunisian-French woman was among truckloads of civilians leaving the militants’ last enclave in eastern Syria.

Like Ali, many were relatives of Islamic State fighters who have followed the group during years of retreat until it fell back to the village of Baghouz, now besieged by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

“God’s world is big. The most important thing is that I do not return to France or Tunisia,” she told Reuters, saying life had been “impossible” for her in both places because of her decision to wear the full Islamic face veil, or niqab.

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