A United States citizen has been arrested in Syria and transferred over to the FBI in Virginia for processing after allegations that she raised an all-woman battalion of fighters in Syria. Allison Fluke-Ekren, a school teacher, allegedly led the battalion after traveling to Syria from Kansas several years ago.
The former Kansas resident was transferred from Syrian control to the FBI last Friday, with her first court appearance in Alexandria, Virginia taking place on Monday, January 31st. The court documents include charges alleging that Fluke-Ekren traveled to Syria to provide material support to the Islamic State (ISIS), along with providing material support to ISIS.
After recruiting female members to her extremist battalion, Fluke-Ekren allegedly had them marry male fighters of ISIS, and provided support to them. Some of the support also included training children in the use of AK-47s, providing assault rifles and suicide belts, along with lodging and other logistical support.
The group was headquartered in Raqqa, Syria, and received backing from ISIS-appointed officials, like the sitting mayor of Raqqa. The criminal complaint also details how Fluke-Ekren played an active role in training the fighters in defense against their enemies, including Americans.
Official charges include providing and conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, Fluke-Ekren can face up to 20 years in prison.
According to reporting from the Topeka Capital-Journal, Fluke-Ekren was known as a model student in high school. TCJ reports:
Larry L. Miller isn’t questioning the federal government’s assertion that Allison Fluke-Ekren, to whom he taught science in the 1990s at Topeka Collegiate School, recently led an all-female group of ISIS fighters.
“I would just like for people to know that that’s not the person I knew when I knew her,” Miller told The Capital-Journal on Monday.
“Never would any of us who knew her back then ever thought she would end up as she has today,” Miller said.
Miller said he taught from 1991 to 2001 at Topeka College, where Fluke-Ekren took classes from him in seventh and eighth grade.
Fluke-Ekren’s love for learning made her stand out, Miller said. “She was good at everything.”
Miller said that he and his wife, Suzanne Miller, a librarian who died at age 74 in March 2020, were friends with Fluke-Ekren’s parents, though he wasn’t willing to share their identities.
TCJ also shared this updated photo to their report, which shows a chilling photo of Fluke-Ekren today, wildly contrasting the high school image above:
Fluke-Ekren’s radical terror group was stationed in the area of Raqqa during the time of the city’s 2017 siege, which lasted from June 6 until October 17, when Syrian Democratic Forces retook the city.