The parents of Kayla Mueller – an Arizona-born humanitarian aid worker who was taken hostage by Daesh* in Syria in August 2013 and killed 18 months later – said that they were grateful for US President Donald Trump conducting a mission that resulted in the death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and suggested that their daughter could have been saved had former President Obama been as "decisive" as Trump, according to The Arizona Republic.
"We are so grateful for them ... we are so grateful", Kayla’s mother Marsha Mueller told the media on Sunday morning, following President Trump's announcement that al-Baghdadi had been killed in a raid by US Special Operations commandos in northwest Syria. It was later revealed by White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien that the operation was named after Kayla Mueller.
“I still say Kayla should be here, and if Obama had been as decisive as President Trump, maybe she would have been", Marsha Mueller added.
The parents of Kayla, who was reportedly raped by al-Baghdadi himself on multiple occasions, said that it was important for them that their daughter and other hostages captured and killed by Daesh were not forgotten. Donald Trump even mentioned Kayla’s name twice during a press conference following the announcement.
“He knows her story. He's been briefed on it, and he knows, and that’s important to me", Kayla’s father Carl Mueller told the media outlet. “I don’t think anything would have stopped him from getting this guy”.
Mueller was kidnapped by Daesh in 2013 while working as a human rights activist with Doctors Without Borders in Syria. The reports suggested that one of Daesh's senior members, Abu Sayyaf, had been responsible for Mueller’s kidnapping, which reportedly allowed al-Baghdadi to assault the American on multiple occasions.
“What this man did to Kayla — he kidnapped her", Carl Mueller said. “She was held in many prisons. She was held in solitary confinement. She was tortured. She was intimidated. She was ultimately raped by al-Baghdadi himself”.
It was later confirmed by US forces that Mueller had been killed by a Jordanian airstrike in 2015, but her body has never been recovered. The family said that they still hope to find out more about their daughter’s life in captivity and the circumstances of her death.
“For me what matters most I'm hoping now we will finally get the answers we have been asking for all along", said Mueller’s mother. “I think this administration truly might help us. I don’t think they are as closed about what happened”.
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump confirmed the death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a US military operation, saying that he “died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way". The US president also thanked Russia for cooperating on the matter by claiming that US forces had to fly through certain Russian-controlled areas to reach their target.
However, the Russian Defence Ministry has said that it was unaware of providing assistance to US military units and did not possess any reliable data regarding the operation, as “no airstrikes performed by US aircraft” or international coalition were detected on Saturday, according to Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia.