Nicole Lynn Mansfield, a 33-year-old woman born and raised in Flint, Michigan, was killed in Syria by Syrian government forces while fighting with rebels in the country, according to the woman's family.
Mansfield's aunt and grandmother told the Detroit Free Press that the FBI had interviewed family members about Mansfield's death today, confirming reports from Syrian TV stations that an American woman had been killed in the fighting.
Mansfield's aunt, Monica Speelman, told the Free Press that Mansfield had married an Arab immigrant several years ago, converting to Islam in the process. Three years ago, after the husband was able to secure a green card. the couple divorced. Speelman said the family never knew the husband's name. The family lost touch with Mansfield shortly after the divorce and didn't know she was in Syria.
“I’m sick over it,” Speelman said of her niece’s death. “I didn’t think she was (a terrorist), but God only knows.”
Speelman also said Mansfield was survived by an 18-year-old daughter.
According to reports in Syrian media, Mansfied died alongside two other Westerners, including a British citizen.
The report said the three were ambushed in their car in the flashpoint province of Idlib in northwestern Syria, where government forces have been battling rebels for control.
TV footage showed a bullet-riddled car and three bodies laid out. It also showed weapons, a computer, a hand-drawn map of a government military facility and a flag belonging to the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.
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