NPR

To Syria And Back: How 2 Women Escaped Their Radicalized Husbands

Few have returned to the U.S. after traveling to Syria and Iraq, where they were linked to extremists. Two are women who say their husbands forced them to go, along with their small children.
Tania Joya walks on the beach in Egypt in 2011. When her American husband John Georgelas joined the Islamic State in Syria in 2013, she fled with their children and returned to Texas, where she has built a new life. Source: Courtesy of Tania Joya

By her own account, Samantha Sally had a comfortable life for years in Elkhart, Ind., with her Moroccan husband and their children.

But on a family vacation to Turkey in 2015, Sally says her husband, Moussa Elhassani, tricked the entire family into crossing the border into Syria.

She described that fateful moment in an interview with CNN last spring in Syria:

"The position I was in was to stay with my son or watch my husband leave with my daughter. I had to make a decision. I thought we could walk back across the border again," she said.

There, he declared he was joining the Islamic State. They moved to the city of Raqqa, which

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min readPolitics
Hard-Line Brexiteer Boris Johnson To Become Britain's New Prime Minister
Johnson will inherit a slate of problems from Theresa May, including a small majority in Parliament, government resignations and escalations with Iran. And then there's Brexit.
NPR7 min read
Stepping Into The Sun: A Mission To Bring Solar Energy To Communities Of Color
Solar energy has taken off across the U.S. As an African American working in the industry, Jason Carney wants to make sure minority communities don't miss out on the energy savings or the green jobs.
NPR5 min read
Productivity, Retention And Cost Savings: Why Working From Home Benefits Employees And Employers
One way to reduce traffic and the number of hours workers spend commuting is to have more people work from home more often.