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Five heartbreaking quotes from the mother of a dead ISIS fighter

CBS News visits Belgium, which provides more foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria, per capita, than any other European nation
CBS News visits Belgium, which provides more ... 07:33

When you think of ISIS militants, images of ruthless hostage executions or shadowy terror cells might fill your imagination. You probably don't think of mothers. But each and every radicalized youth in Iraq and Syria has one. And in the new CBSN Originals documentary, "Molenbeek: Terror Recruiting Ground," we talk to the mother of a young man from Brussels named Anis, who was recruited at just 18 years of age in just four months.

Geraldine Henneghien's son Anis, before he left home to join ISIS in January 2014. Family photo

"Anis, in Arabic, is the friend of everybody. And he was very loving. He was a very normal boy. He was making jokes every day," says Geraldine Henneghien. "When something went wrong at school, he would say, 'I must help them.' That was my son."

In late 2013, however, all that changed. Anis began going to a new mosque, praying up to five times a day, and arguing with his father over sections of the Quran. Then, in January 2014, he left.

"I hate the recruiters," says Henneghien in tears. "Because they don't have the courage to go there. But they have the courage to send the young people there."

And for Anis, she says, life with ISIS was not what he expected. They simply wouldn't let him come home.

"One time he said, 'Mom, I would like to come back in Belgium ... so please, you want to buy for me a ticket to another place.' I say, 'Anise, I will buy the ticket where you want. Be sure.' And he say, 'Okay, I will let you know.' And two hours later, he was phoning me and he said, 'Mom, I will never come back. I will stay here with the brothers.'"

Geraldine Henneghien believes ISIS had officials listening in on all of her son's phone calls; and that whenever he expressed a desire to leave, they would step in.

"Sometimes young people say it's easy to leave, it's easy to come back. And I say no ... It's not easy to come back."

Now, roughly a year after he left, Henneghien has received word that her son died overseas -- sobering news, which while devastating for any mother to hear, also gives her a sort of solace.

CBS News

"If I will say the truth, I will say I'm happy that he's died. Because I cannot sleep when he was there. Every day, I was thinking about him... what he is doing," Henneghien says. "I am egoist, but I prefer that my son is no more there. ... It's not easy to sleep when your son has died, but I prefer it."

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