Yilmaz, 26, was one of the most high-profile Europeans to become a jihadi, travelling to Syria to live in the Islamic State and fight on behalf of the extremists. He gloried in the teenage fantasy of war – posting a series of Instagram photos of himself pouting at the camera on a motorbike, amid bombed-out buildings in his combat fatigues, AK47 slung nonchalantly over his shoulder. Miss Petalo was a recent convert to Islam, who fell in love with Yilmaz after seeing him on television, picturing him as a Robin Hood figure.
Last week their story took a remarkable twist when it was revealed that Miss Petalo had in fact returned to her hometown – after her mother travelled to the Turkish-Syrian border to bring the 19-year-old home from the jihadist-held city of Raqqa. The pair arrived back in the Netherlands on Wednesday, said Annemarie Kemp, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office. Clad in a niqqab, with only her eyes showing, the teenager – who has changed her name to Aicha – was photographed being driven through the town on her way to custody.
“Upon her arrival, Aicha was detained at once on suspicion of crimes threatening state security,” said Ms Kemp.
Miss Petalo is being held in a police cell – the prosecutor, Roger Bos, ruled on Friday that she should be detained for questioning for three more days. Mrs Verbert, 49, an administrator for BP, argued that her daughter’s flight to Syria was little more than teenage infatuation. On Monday the court will decide whether to press charges.
The police are now trying to get to the bottom of what Mrs Verbert’s daughter was really up to there. “We don’t know what she did over there, what her role was. Did she just stay at the home of the man she married there?” he said.
“Is she a victim or a suspect? Maybe she’s both.”