A FORMER ice cream salesman from Cardiff who travelled to Syria to join ISIS five years ago has said he wants to return home and misses his mum.
Aseel Muthana, 21, who had hoped to become a teacher, left the Welsh capital to join the terror group along with his older brother Nasser and Reyaad Khan, who appeared in one of ISIS’s fist propaganda videos aimed at western recruits.
The trio had all been in Cardiff’s DRG crew – the Docks Riverside Grangetown gang – made up of largely Asian teenagers.
But in November 2013 Khan left for an Islamic conference in Birmingham while aspiring doctor Nasser said he was off to an Islamic seminar in Shropshire.
However, they ended up in Syria, where they were joined three months later by Aseel, who told his parents he was off to revise at a friend’s house.
Aseel was presumed dead but was tracked down to a prison in northern Syria by ITV News.
He told the broadcaster he had been lured into joining the murderous cult because of its slick propaganda videos.
He said: “Back then when I first came to ISIS, you have to understand I came way before the caliphate was pronounced.
“Before all of these beheading videos, before all of the burnings happened, before any of that stuff.
“We came when Isis propaganda and ISIS media was all about helping the poor, helping the Syrian people.”
He added: “We stuck with the people you know from the UK and from Wales…the Welsh guys…me and my brother and Reeyad [Khan].”
It marks a change of tone in the jihadist.
In 2014, shortly after arriving in Syria, he said: “I am willing to die but Allah knows the truth behind the words.”
When his mum, Umm Amin, was shown the footage, she said she was “surprised” to see her son and asked whether there was any news of Nasser, who is thought to have been killed.
She told ITV News: “I felt extreme joy that my boy is alive and I felt extreme sadness that my boy is in this place [prison] that I did not wish to see him there.”
Earlier this year their dad, Ahmed, told how he didn’t know if his sons were alive or dead.
He said: “They thought it they went there it would be a paradise but they found it is a hell. Living in hell – but by force.”
Shortly after they arrived in Syria Nasser featured in an ISIS recruitment video titled ‘There Is No Life Without Jihad’.
Ahmed said Nasser married a Bangladeshi woman who left England to join ISIS while Aseel married a Somali who travelled from Glasgow.
He said his sons had told him they were working as translators.
He added: “They said they regretted going there because they said they didn’t know they would be treated badly.”
Khan was reported to have been killed in August 2015 when he was the target of a drone strike planned by Britain’s National Security Council.
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In February the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation said 850 people from the UK had left to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria – the third highest of any country in western Europe.
Yesterday another jihadi – dubbed the ISIS matchmaker – begged to return to the UK.
Tooba Gondal, 25, said it was “not just” the government abandoned her in a refugee camp.
She left London three years ago and gained notoriety for grooming jihadi brides with Shamima Begum thought to be among them.
Widow Gondal is at Ayn Issa camp, Syria, with her children following a failed escape bid from ISIS-held Baghouz.
Despite calling Britain “filthy” and praising the Paris terror attacks, Gondal begged: “We are living in dire conditions.
“I want to face justice in a British court. I wish to redeem myself. I would like Britain to accept my apology and to give me another chance.”
Meanwhile Home Secretary Priti Patel has insisted there is “no way” Shamima Begum can return to the UK after a fresh plea from the ISIS bride who left London to join the terror group.
Ms Patel vowed to block Begum, who has been stripped of her citizenship, from coming back to the UK, claiming she “would do us harm”.
Begum claimed all she did while living in the so-called caliphate was “make babies” – and pleaded to be allowed to return home.
She claimed her mental health is suffering and she now “hates” the terror group after the death of her three babies.
Shamima Begum has been told she will not be allowed back to the UK[/caption]