Mariam Dabboussy

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Mariam Dabboussy
Born 1992 (age 31–32)
Nationality Australia
Known for lived in Daesh controlled Syria

Mariam Dabboussy is an Australian woman who lived in Daesh controlled Syria.[1][2]

Dabboussy told The New York Times that she never planned to enter Daesh territory.[3] She said she traveled to Turkey, with her husband, Kaled Zahab, on what he said was an expedition to help relatives of his escape Syria.[4] But she claimed she was the victim of a trick, and that, once they were within walking distance of the border her husband pulled a gun and forced her into Syria, at gunpoint.

Her husband was killed in combat mere months after their arrival.[4]

The Australian television series Four Corners devoted an episode to Dabboussy.[2] Dabboussy risked raising her veil, during her television interview, an act she said could trigger retaliation from the most devout occupants of the al-Hawl refugee camp.[5] She told reporters that her brother in law, Mohammed, convinced or coerced at least a dozen Australians into Daesh territory.[6] Reporters who compared those images with her wedding photos, described her face as "wizened".

Her father's efforts to convince the Australian government to repatriate her have received worldwide attention.[1][2][7][8][9][10] He assured the Australian public that his granddaughter, and the other Australian refugees, had all agreed to be subject to a control order, when they were repatriated.[11] Her father told Radio New Zealand that Australian security officials were well aware she had been duped into entering Daesh territory, as he wasn't aware she was in Daesh territory, and they told him she had been duped, then.[12]

Dabboussy married in 2011, and lived with her husband's family after she became pregnant in 2014.[5] She attributed her husband Khaled's ploy to trick her into Syria to his elder brother Mohammed. She had given birth to her first child, prior to her arrival in Syria, and was pregnant with a second child. Her husband was killed within three months of her arrival, and prior to the birth of her second child. By 2019 she had given birth to a third child.

Mariam's father, Kamalle Dabboussy, has repeatedly called on the Australian government to repatriate his daughter and grandchildren.[13] Her father published a book about his struggles to win their repatriation in 2021.[14]

Prior to her repatriation Dabboussy and her children spent years in the primitive Al Roj refugee camp.[10]

Dabboussy, three other Australian mothers, and their thirteen children, were repatriated to Australia on October 29, 2022.[15] The three other women were Bessima Assaad, Shayma Assaad, and Mariam Raad.[16] The women had all agreed to be subject to "control orders" - security measures that could include periodic check-ins with security officials, or wearing an electronic security anklet, prior to their repatriation.

9 News profiled Dabboussy on November 1, 2022, approxamately a week after her repatriation.[4] They told viewers that while Dabboussy was under "voluntary control measures", she was not wearing an ankle monitor, no 24 hour police supervision, and no strict control measures, because there is no reason to suspect she represents a threat to public safety.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Livia Albeck-Ripka (2019-10-21). "Desperate Pleas to Free Women and Children From ISIS Camps in Syria". The New York Times: p. A8. Retrieved 2020-07-22. "'It’s tough; it’s scary,' he told his daughter, Mariam, during a recent phone call. Mr. Dabboussy tried to comfort her. 'We’re still pushing,' he said." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Livia Albeck-Ripka (2019-10-25). "‘My Grandchild Is Not a Terrorist’". The New York Times: p. A2. Retrieved 2020-07-22. 
  3. Livia Albeck-Ripka (2019-10-24). "Does Australia Have to Bring Its Women and Children Home From Syria’s Camps?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-07-22. "While the details of many of the women’s stories are unknown, some have come forward to explain themselves, including Mariam Dabboussy. She says that in late 2015, she was forced by gunpoint over the Turkish border with Syria, after traveling there in what her husband claimed was an attempt to extract a relative who was trying to escape the Islamic State." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Chris OKeefe, Imogen Carfrae (2022-11-01). "Islamic State families seen in suburban Sydney after rescue from Syria". 9 News. Archived from the original on 2022-11-25. Retrieved 2023-01-09. "Her husband died fighting for IS three months after they arrived." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Benedict Brook (2019-10-01). "From blushing Aussie bride to IS widow". The Chronicle. Retrieved 2020-07-22. "Another looks vastly different to her Australian wedding photos. In the pictures, Mariam Dabboussy, smiles broadly, hair down to her shoulders. Now she sits head to toe in black, visibly wizened." 
  6. Dylan Welch; Suzanne Dredge; Naomi Selvaratnam (2019-09-30). "Married to Islamic State: The untold stories of the women Australia doesn’t want back.". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2020-07-22. "Mariam Dabboussy is risking her safety to reveal how her brother-in-law Muhammad Zahab delivered her and her baby into the grip of the Islamic State (IS) group." 
  7. Ben Doherty (2019-10-15). "Australian families trapped in Isis camp in Syria plead with government to rescue them". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-07-22. "Kamalle Dabboussy visited Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday to ask federal politicians to intervene to rescue the stranded Australians. He said Australia could still safely liberate its citizens from the war zone." 
  8. "Mariam Dabboussy with her veil lifted". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2019-10-22. Retrieved 2020-07-22. "Mariam Dabboussy's father Kamalle Dabboussy continues to lobby the government to help Australians stuck in the a Hawl refugee camp in Syria." 
  9. Ben Doherty; Helen Davidson (2019-10-07). "Australia urged to act quickly to get families out of Syrian refugee camps". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-07-22. "Dabboussy, whose daughter Mariam was reportedly coerced by a relative into going to Syria, said the feeling on the ground was one of apprehension, not of Turkish control itself, but of a resistance to any Turkish offensive plunging the volatile region back into war. Any transition from Kurdish to Turkish control is unlikely to be smooth." 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Phil Mercer (2022-06-22). "Australia Urged to Repatriate Islamic State Widow from Syrian Camp". Voice of America. Archived from the original on 2023-01-09. Retrieved 2023-01-09. "Kamalle Dabboussy’s Sydney-born daughter Mariam and her three young children are being held at the al-Roj refugee camp in north-east Syria. They are among about 60 Australians stranded there. The Australian government has said it was too dangerous for diplomatic staff to visit the region to try to bring them home." 
  11. Anthony Galloway; Michael Bachelard (2020-02-15). "Police raids as families of Islamic State still stuck in freezing Syrian camp". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2020-07-22. "'The women have all agreed to be subject to control orders if they return, and the government has not accepted that offer. Instead, all we’ve got is police raids. That, in my view, is a heavy-handed response.'" 
  12. "Orphan stuck in Syrian refugee camp could be a New Zealander". Radio New Zealand. 2019-10-03. Retrieved 2020-07-23. "When it comes to his daughter, he said she was coerced into that space, and that was something the authorities understood too. 'The first I knew my daughter was there was when the authorities knocked on my door and told me your daughter is in Syria and she was coerced into going there, that was the line they used.'" 
  13. Phil Mercer (2021-06-22). "Australia Urged to Repatriate Islamic State Widow from Syrian Camp". Voice of America (Sydney, Australia). Retrieved 2021-06-23. "Mariam Dabboussy said she was tricked into traveling to Syria while on a family holiday to Turkey in 2015." 
  14. Kamalle Dabboussy; Mic Looby (2021). A Father's Plea. Affirm Press. ISBN 9781922419705. 
  15. Danyal Hussain (2022-10-28). "Sorry for 'the trouble and hurt we caused': ISIS brides arrive back in Australia and issue apology as armed police shepherd them to 'secure' hotels - awaiting decision on whether any will be charged". The Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 2022-10-29. Retrieved 2022-10-29. "There was a heavy police presence at the airport as the ISIS brides arrived and they are now expected to be taken to secure hotels to rest. They will then debriefed by authorities before returning to the community and extended families as authorities mull over whether to charge any of them." 
  16. Maryanne Taouk (2022-10-29). "'Willing to do whatever is asked': Women repatriated from Syria regret trouble caused". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2022-10-29. Retrieved 2022-10-29. "'We are willing to do whatever is asked of us by government authorities to ensure the safety of our families and the Australian community and we will fully cooperate with all Australian law enforcement agencies,' the women said."