- Aseel Muthana left Wales to join ISIS in Syria in February 2014, when he was 17
- He has resurfaced in a Syrian prison and his mother has backed his plea to return
- Muthan said he joined ISIS to 'help the poor' before wave of beheading videos
A British ice cream seller who went to join ISIS in Syria five years ago has pleaded to come home because he misses his mother and his life in Cardiff.
Aseel Muthana left Wales for Syria in February 2014, aged 17, following his brother Nasser and another friend in joining the jihadist group.
His family feared he had died but Muthana has now resurfaced at a prison camp in northern Syria and his mother has backed his plea to come home.
Speaking to ITV News from the prison, Muthana, now 22, claimed he had merely wanted to 'help the poor' when he travelled to Syria.
'Back then when I first came to ISIS, you have to understand I came way before the caliphate was pronounced,' he said.
'Before all of these beheading videos, before all of the burnings happened, before any of that stuff.
'We came when ISIS propaganda and ISIS media was all about helping the poor, helping the Syrian people.'
The wave of widely publicised ISIS beheadings began later in 2014, when journalist James Foley and British aid worker David Haines were among numerous people murdered in propaganda videos broadcast by the terror group.
However, ISIS had its roots in extremist groups which had been using beheadings during the war in Iraq well before that.
Begging to come home, Muthana said he missed his mother Umm Amin and his former life in the Welsh capital where he worked selling ice cream.
The fate of his brother Nasser remains unclear while his friend Reeyad Khan was killed by a drone strike in 2015.
'We stuck with the people you know from the UK and from Wales.... the Welsh guys... me and my brother and Reeyad,' Muthana said.
When told her now 22-year-old son was alive, Muthana's mother Umm Amin said she felt 'extreme joy' and urged authorities to allow him to come home.
Muthana is being held at a secret prison in Syria where 5,000 inmates are kept in cells. Senior leaders of the group are among the inmates of the prison.
Muthana's mother Umm Amin said she felt 'extreme joy' that her son was still alive after she heard about his reappearance.
In a statement, she urged authorities to allow her son to return home.
She said: 'To whom it may concern, and to those with compassionate hearts. We are not against you [Kurdish authorities] but I am writing with the care that a mother has for her children, my husband is in hospital sick with the weight of worry.
'My little boy went seduced [by ISIS] and brainwashed with ideas that were not his. So that he doesn't know what is right and what is wrong, dominated and led by his emotions.
'My boy was gentle and merciful and didn't know violence and harshness. I appeal to you.
'I appeal and ask you for forgiveness and safety from those who destroyed his childhood and youth by taking the swiftest measures to bring him to his father and mother's bosom who longs to see him. Have compassion for our situation.'
Muthana is the latest British ISIS fighter to plea for mercy after the terror group's so-called 'caliphate' crumbled to nothing earlier this year.
Jihadi bride Shamima Begum last week renewed her plea to return, saying her only role in the so-called caliphate was to 'make babies'.
The Government has repeatedly refused her request and then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped her of British citizenship earlier this year.
Another ISIS bride, Tooba Gondal, pleaded to come home with her children in an interview published at the weekend.
'I want to face justice in a British court. I wish to redeem myself. I would like Britain to accept my apology and to give me another chance,' she said.