What becomes of the jihadi orphans?

In northern Iraq, Bel Trew visits the Zahour orphanage in Mosul to meet the children of Isis fighters killed in airstrikes, rejected by families because of their parents’ affiliations

Wednesday 17 October 2018 10:58 BST
Children displaced by this brutal war often believe games are forbidden
Children displaced by this brutal war often believe games are forbidden (AFP/Getty)

It is hard to imagine that the two little girls, chattering about teddy bears in pretty dresses with bows in their hair, were two years ago pulled out from under the rubble of an airstrike that killed their parents: hardened Isis fighters.

Sara, 11, and Layla, 9, are not related but their fates are eerily similar. Both their parents were part of the hardcore cadre of the global terror group that fought to the very end in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The little girls both miraculously survived missile strikes that pounded Isis hideouts in Mosul’s Old City, the site of the bloodiest battles of the Iraqi army’s offensive on the group’s largest stronghold. The pair are now living in the Zahour orphanage in the city, a place of refuge trying to care for the children left behind by Isis.

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