Former Isis bride reveals how she fled Syria and her jihadist ex-husband

How I divorced Islamic State
The British ex-wife of an American leader in the so called Islamic State describes her journey out of extremism.
Tania Georgelas met her husband John, an American convert to Islam, online and they connected over their Islamist views.
After John moved Tania and their children to Syria, she decided to escape. Now she wants to dedicate her life to countering extremism and rehabilitating ex-jihadists.

By Tom Herbert 

A former ISIS bride has revealed how she fled Syria and her jihadist ex-husband, saying she regretted the decisions she made in life.

London-born Tania Georgelas, now 33, met husband John Georgelas on a Muslim dating site, married in 2004 and had four children with him.

The family eventually moved to Syria in 2013 but fearing for her children’s safety she left not long after, leaving her terror-chief husband behind.

She has previously spoken of how she still has feelings for American-born ex, who became a leading member of Islamic State and changed his name to Yahya al-Bahrumi.

She told the BBC: ‘the buildings I stayed in them were abandoned homes by ex-military. The windows had been blown out and every single night I had become accustomed to hearing gunfire.

‘It was hard – my marriage was breaking down, which was my life at the time. I didn’t know what to do.’

Growing up in Harrow, friends said she wasn’t particularly religious but the turning point for her radicalisation was the September 11 terror attacks.

Religion gave her structure and made her feel like she belonged and she was made to feel that it was her duty to do something – and that something was jihad.

Despite John believing Syria would be the ideal place to raise a child, after just three weeks she pleaded with John to let her leave – which he agreed to do.

‘There were snipers and towers shooting and we could see the bullets flying everywhere. I remember putting my kids through the barbed wire and the Syrian refugees were helping us as much as we could. It was so scary.’

On her return to America she lost full custody of her children, who live with John’s parents, and she renounced Islam.

John apologised to her for what he did and she regrets that her children did not have a stable lifestyle – something she said makes her feel ‘really sad’.

Hoping to embark on a career rehabilitating extremist radicals, she said she lost her family, her home and 10 years of her life.



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