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Former ISIS members tell their stories in Al Arabiya’s latest ‘Face to Face’ series

Published: Updated:

In an 11-part series, Al Arabiya goes into camps in Syria and Iraq where journalist Rola al-Khatib sits down with former ISIS members and their families, and former members of the Syrian government forces, to tell their stories in the latest “Face to Face” interviews.

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In Syria’s northern region al-Hol camp, which is run by Civilian Administration of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), former insurgents agreed to tell their stories given their faces and identities remain hidden. Others did not mind being identified because they wanted a platform to share their experiences, and regrets.


While al-Khatib was able to get into these critical areas to meet with people who agreed to speak with her, children living in this ISIS camp at one point chased the Al Arabiya team and threw rocks at them while calling al-Khatib an “infidel.”

“Why are you calling me an ‘infidel’?” she is heard asking.

“Because you’re not wearing a hijab [head scarf],” one child responded.


One of the episodes documents al-Khatib’s journey in reuniting Syrian grandparents in Germany with their grandchildren who were in al-Hol’s ISIS camp after being separated during the war.

In addition to speaking to former ISIS and Syrian government forces, al-Khatib exclusively entered areas where she learned more about what Iranian militias have done in Syria.

Anonymous sources told al-Khatib that Iranian militias are supporting ISIS in the area and are providing the organization with weapons and other resources.

The sources also said ISIS members had admitted to having met with Iranian militias in the area.

These experiences, and more, are documented in the latest “Face to Face” series from Al Arabiya.

Previous episodes of “Face to Face” also included interviews with former ISIS child soldiers and former ISIS insurgents, both men and women, who were captured or surrendered near al-Baghouz, and their experiences under the terrorist group’s rule.

Read more:

Face to face with ISIS child soldiers

Face to face with ISIS in al-Baghouz camp

Face to face with ISIS: The women of ISIS