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Friday 19 January 2018

Kurdish special forces free Swedish teen held by Islamic State in daring raid on Mosul

Marlin Stivani Nivarlain (16) from Borås, Sweden Credit: Kurdistan Regional Security Council
Marlin Stivani Nivarlain (16) from Borås, Sweden Credit: Kurdistan Regional Security Council
Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers during their advance on Mosul, in northern Iraq

David Kearns

A teenage Swedish girl being held by Islamic State militants has been rescued in a raid by Kurdish special forces.

The 16-year-old, named by the Kurds as Marlin Stivani Nivarlain, travelled from Sweden to Syria last year and later crossed into Iraq, where she was rescued near the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul.

"Kurdish counter-terrorism forces freed the girl on February 17," said a spokesperson for the Kurdish Security Council.

"[We] were called upon by Swedish authorities and members of her family to assist in locating and rescuing her from ISIL."

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The teenager is currently in the Kurdistan region and will be handed over to Swedish authorities so she can return home once necessary arrangements are made, it added.

The Kurdish security council identified the rescued teenager as coming from the Swedish town of Boras and said she had been "misled" into making the journey to Syria by an Islamic State member in Sweden.

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It has been reported that the teen travelled to Syria with her 19-year-old boyfriend last June, without her parents' knowledge.  

Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul was the first major city to fall into the hands of ISIS militants during their blitz in June 2014, when the group swept across vast areas in the country's north and west.

To this day, Mosul remains under control of ISIS despite Iraqi forces, aided by airstrikes by the US-led international coalition, are battling alongside Shiite militiamen and Sunni pro-government fighters to retake the ancient city.

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Security services estimate that hundreds of Western men and women have left Europe and elsewhere to join Islamic State since they overran large parts of Iraq and Syria in June 2014.

Earlier this month, a mother who took her 14-month-old son to Syria to join Islamic State fighters was jailed for six years by a British court.

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