There are two distinct types of women in Syria’s detention camps: those that claim to have travelled willingly to the Islamic State and those who say they followed blindly. The first of them appear to have few regrets, the others plead ignorance.
The British among them divide neatly between the two.
“Some of the women here believe in Isil ideology, I can promise you I am not one of them,” Nassima Begum, a 29-year-old mother-of-four from London, told the Telegraph during a recent visit to one of the camps.
“My husband didn’t want to stay in the UK, he wanted us to live in an Islamic country. The plan was to go to Saudi Arabia but then he decided on Syria.
“I had no choice but to follow him,” she said.
She claimed to have been a housewife, who “couldn’t even point to Syria on a map” when the family moved here in 2012 – before Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s caliphate was declared two years later.
Then there are also those more reluctant to talk, out of fear, perhaps, of implicating themselves.
Reema Iqbal from Newham, east London, is less forthcoming about how and why she came to be in Isil-held Syria.