'Empress of Daesh': US woman who led all-female Daesh unit sentenced to 20 years

An American woman who led an all-female Daesh unit in Syria has been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to “terrorism” charges earlier this year.

Allison Fluke-Ekren, a 42-year-old from the mid-western US state of Kansas, committed terrorist acts in Iraq, Syria and Libya over an eight-year period.

She also admitted to giving military training to more than 100 women and girls, including those as young as 10. She pleaded guilty to the charges in June.

By showing pictures of her children at a dinner party, she tried to pretend they were simply leading a normal life in Syria during her time in the war-torn country.

But prosecutors described Fluke-Ekren as the ‘Empress of Daesh’ and said she was accused of teaching women and girls as young as 10 how to use automatic weapons, and detonate grenades and suicide belts.

Her children also denounced their mother in court, saying they were physically and sexually abused by their mother.

In a statement read in court on Tuesday, Fluke-Ekren’s daughter said "the lust for control and power” had made her mother take the family halfway around the world to find Daesh.

She told the court that her mother was good at hiding the abuse she committed. She recounted an incident where her mother, apparently as punishment, poured anti-lice medicine all over her face, causing blisters and badly hurting the eyes.

Later, Fluke-Ekren tried to wash the substance off her daughter's face but was met with resistance. The reason for this is described by Fluke-Ekren's daughter: “I wanted people to see what kind of person she was. I wanted it to blind me.”

Fluke-Ekren has denied the allegations in court, but First Assistant US Attorney Raj Parekh said even within Daesh, people who knew Fluke-Ekren said her ideology was out of line. Fluke-Ekren's actions "added a new dimension to the darkest side of humanity," Parekh said.

According to the US Department of Justice, Fluke-Ekren, whose family is from the Midwest, worked as a teacher in the United States before leaving the country and joining the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Syria.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh. Damascus, however, says the deployment is meant to plunder the country's rich mineral resources.

The US forces have been actively involved in the Arab country under the guise of fighting Daesh, but credible reports point to a secret alliance between the two in their attempts to topple the Syrian government.

Numerous reports and regional officials point to Washington’s role in transferring Daesh elements throughout the region and even airlifting supplies to the group.