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ISIS bride with Coquitlam connections expresses regrets

Latest interview with Kimberly Polman suggests a feeling of hopelessness as she's stuck in Syria
Four years before she married an ISIS fighter and joined the Caliphate, Kimberly Polman was presented with the Women's Opportunity Award in Port Moody. Polman, who is in a Syrian camp, was the subject of an Associated Press interview.

A woman with ties to Coquitlam is now expressing regret about joining ISIS, an Associated Press article reports.

Kimberly Polman, who was a student at Douglas College and received a Soroptimist International scholarship in 2011, was recently interviewed by the AP at camp Roj in Syria.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gave the AP access to speak to Polman and other women at two camps under its administration.

During the interview, Polman, who surrendered to the SDF earlier this year, said she now regrets her mistake.

“How could I have been so stupid, and so blind?” Polman, the 46-year-old Canadian woman reportedly told the AP.

Although she came to the caliphate to join her new husband, a man she knew online, Polman told AP life was difficult and she saw a number of children die while working in a hospital.

She said, for example, that she broke down after failing to revive a dying 4-month-old, and later came to blame the militants for terrible things she saw.

Now she feels she is not safe in the camp because she has spoken out against ISIS.

“I feel so badly that I think I don’t deserve a future,” Polman acknowledged, adding in her statement to AP “I shouldn’t have trusted.”

The interview mirrors a similar story reported by New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi, who spoke to The Tri-City News about her meeting in Syria with Polman.

Polman, who reportedly grew up in a devout Mennonite family in Hamilton, Ont., lived in Metro Vancouver before joining the Islamic State. In a local twist, she reportedly studied at the David Lam Campus of Douglas College in Coquitlam and even won the Women's Opportunity Award from the Tri-Cities branch of Soroptomists International.

Based on an interview with Callimachi, as well as reporting by her and New York Times colleague Catherine Porter, we’ve put together a timeline of Polman’s journey, from an aspiring child advocate to an imprisoned ex-bride of the Islamic State.