Book Review: Operation Jihadi Bride by John Carney @Octopus_Books @ThurlowClifford @annecater @RandomTTours #jihad #ISIS

Chilling, but true. Every word of it.

Genre: Non-fiction
Bookxpert Rating: 4.5/5

A huge thank you to the author, John Carney, and tour organizer Anne Cater, for the review copy, and having me on the tour.

Buy ‘Operation Jihadi Bride’ now (Amazon Kindle)


Would you turn your back on a teenage Jihadi bride and her innocent children?

‘Jihad isn’t a war. It’s an objective. An aberration. If there are young women with children, lost boys… If they are trapped in that hell and we can get them out, don’t we have a duty to do so? Every person we can bring back is living proof that Islamic State is a failure.

Ex-British Army Soldier, John Carney, ran a close protection operation in Iraq for oil executives when he was asked by the family of a young Dutch woman to extract her from the collapsing Islamic State in Syria. Hearing first-hand of the shocking living hell of tricked naive young girls, many from the West, trapped, sexually abused and enslaved by ISIS, he knew only one thing – he had to get them out

Armed with AK-47s and 9mm Glocks, he launched a daring, dangerous and deadly operation to free as many as he could. With a small band of committed Kurdish freedom fighters, backed by humanitarian NGOs, and feeding intel to MI6, Carney and his men went behind enemy lines in the heart of the Syrian lead storm, risking their lives to deliver the women and their children to the authorities, to de-radicalization programmes and fair trials.

Gripping, shocking and thought-provoking, ‘Operation Jihadi Bride’ takes the complex issue of the Jihadi Brides head-on – a vital read for our troubled times.


A mother runs with her seven-year old daughter from a collapsing building into the sudden explosion of a stray mortar falling at that time and that place by the act of an uncaring God. Your nasal passages burn from cordite. Your throat is dry like ash. Your eyes sting. You’ve got a cut-down AK-47 lodged in your right shoulder and you’re burning to shoot somebody who needs to be shot.

Have you ever encountered such a setting outside of a video game or a movie?
This was a reality for John Carney and his team, and a gruesome daily occurrence for people who lived under the Caliphate rule.

When John Carney received a mail to rescue Dutch girl Laura Angela Hansen, he imagined his daughter. ‘What would it feel like to have your own daughter trapped inside that hell?’, he thought, and so he with his team, set about their mission of rescuing women from the ISIS Caliphate, and they didn’t rest till the ISIS was routed from Syria.

They worked on the front lines, getting valuable info from their contacts inside the Caliphate, and trading it with the Kurdish army and diplomats of various governments, just to get enough leeway to work. Without money. For humanity.

The conditions that have been described by him, of the landscape of Syria- rubble all around, destroyed orchards, buildings fallen to pieces, hollow people, carcasses just lying around, of boys as young as ten being turned into Jihadis and strapped with suicide vests, girls treated as baby-machines, traded between the Jihadis like pieces of meat, I can’t write enough about it, it feels unreal. It feels worse than a nightmare, unreal. I was halfway through the book when it sunk in that I was reading a serious non-fiction book, and all this really happened.

The testimonies of the girls rescued from the Caliphate are very chilling of the book where two rescued women are talking about their ordeal to John and his team-

‘They passed us around like sweets,’ she said, and lowered her sad eyes…
…’If a man has food and comes to our building, all the girls will offer to sleep with him,’ Miray said.
‘We were prostitutes for food,’ Emilia added- words I would hear again a year later in the refugee camps run by the Turks on the Syrian border.

This book is written tightly. The material sometimes becomes graphic, so chapters of John’s family offer respites among it. I also liked that all the security forces who worked on the rescue and war efforts are clearly stated and the difference between them is clear. I was always hazy on that point.

I also loved John’s associates- Hassan, Cano Ali, and Dozan. They way these four men worked selflessly, putting their lives on the line, is a great feat.

I would recommend this book to non-fiction lovers.

About the Author:

John Carney is an Ex-British army soldier. He led the efforts of rescue of various women and their children from the ISIS Caliphate. His name is on the ISIS-Death list, and to protect his identity, names have been changed in the book.

Other Stuff :

The Title:- Operation Jihadi Bride- John’s mission was to rescue women who had traveled to the Caliphate to become Jihadi brides, under illusions of the promised ‘heaven’, and now wanted out.

Genre :- Non fiction
Final Thoughts :- A book that will give you chills, each word is the reality.

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