Kurdish forces have rescued a 16-year-old Swedish girl from the clutches of ISIS in northern Iraq, according to regional authorities.
CNN reports that the girl, Marlin Stivani Nivarlain, was rescued by Kurdish special forces near the ISIS-held city of Mosul on Wednesday. It’s unclear how long Nivarlain was held by the terrorist state.
Here are 5 facts we’ve learned about Marlin and her rescue since she was freed on February 17.
1. She Traveled To Syria With A Boyfriend She Met Online
The official statement from Kurdish authorities says that the young girl was “misled” by an ISIS member and traveled to Syria where she was then taken and moved to Iraq, ultimately ending up in Mosul.
The girl told a Kurdish television station that she was lured by a boy she met online and knew she was going to Syria but it was not clear that she was going to ISIS.
2. The Girl Lived Near A Hot Spot For ISIS Recruitment
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Nivarlain fell victim to this scheme given her location. The teen is from Boras, about 250 miles southwest of Stockholm, Sweden. That puts her within 40 miles of Gothenburg. In November 2015, a Swedish police chief said that the city was “per capita, the European city from which most people have joined Islamic extremist groups”.
3. She’s Still In Kurdistan
As of press time, Swedish authorities were still working to bring Nivarlain home. She’s currently in the Kurdistan region and the official statement from the Kurds reads that “we are working with Swedish authorities to allow her to return home as quickly as possible.” The girl was provided with medical care and other aid soon after her rescue.
4. Sweden Is Part Of The Coalition Against ISIS
While Sweden is generally thought of as a country that stays away from world conflicts, the Swedes actually have about 120 troops on the ground. Sweden joined the coalition in April 2015, sending soldiers to advise Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
5. Kurdistan Isn’t Technically A Country
It’s worth noting that while Kurdish forces led the rescue attempt, Kurdistan itself is defined not as its own country but as a geo-cultural region where the Kurdish people form a majority population. Kurdistan is considered to be part of four different countries: Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria.
But the Kurds are well-organized and were able to move quickly to help Nivarlain after receiving a request from her family and Swedish authorities.