DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The battle against ISIS continues as Iraqi forces try to push the terrorist group out of Mosul. One local family is watching the action with particular interest.
Teeba Furat Marlowe, 14, is equal parts survivor and typical American teenager. She's been living in the U.S. since she was 5 years old, recovering from the damage done by a roadside bomb. She was taken in by a loving Cleveland family who never thought they'd be watching what's happening in a war zone quite so carefully.
"At 19 months old, my brother, my dad and I were in a taxi cab and we hit a roadside bomb. This bomb killed my brother, my dad survived but I was severely burned," she said.
Furat Marlowe was in need a several surgeries when she appeared in a newspaper article in 2006 that inspired Clevelander Barb Marlowe to bring her to the U.S. for reconstructive surgery at Rainbow Babies and Childrens Hospital.
"Nineteen surgeries later, with a few more on the horizon if she wants to proceed, it's been a very emotional journey," said Barb Marlowe.
In many ways, she's now a regular American teenager, who spends time on the phone and with friends.
"What I really like about my friends is they don't see me as a burn victim who isn't in her home country. They see me as one of them," she said.
This summer she reunited with her mother and three siblings, in Dubai. It was the first time they'd seen each other in nine years. Teeba admits she was anxious and wanted to look beautiful for her family.
"I wanted my mom to think all these surgeries and all that I have been through wasn't a mistake, that I've grown and become a good person," Teeba said.
And now as the fight against ISIS intensifies in Iraq this week, the Marlowes watch anxiously. Teeba's father is a high ranking military officer in the Iraqi Army.
"I'm obsessed with watching what's going on and any time I hear anything I have to call and check in," said Marlowe.
Teeba says she deals with it, by praying for her father.
"I really hope he is OK and he is not going to be leaving my family anymore because I know they need him," she said.
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