An alleged American Isis militant captured by Kurdish forces said travelling to Iraq had been a "bad decision" which he made because he "wasn't thinking straight".
In an interview with Kurdish television outlet K24, the man identified by Kurdish officials as 26-year-old Mohamad Jamal Khweis of Virginia, said he travelled to the Isis stronghold of Mosul in Iraq after meeting a woman.
"At the time I made the decision, I was not thinking straight. On the way there I regretted, and I wanted to go back home after things didn't work out and saw myself living in such an environment," he said. He described conditions in the city as "very difficult".
"I stayed there about a month, and I found it very, very hard to live there. I decided to return home," he said. Khweis said he regretted "going off with Daesh [a pejorative Arabic acronym for Isis]", and was attempting to make contact with Kurdish forces when he was captured on Monday, 14 March.
Khweis said he attended a mosque in the US, but not frequently, and described how he travelled from his home near Washington DC to London and Amsterdam and then to Turkey, where he met an Iraqi woman.
"We spent some time together, and she said that she is from Mosul, Iraq. I don't know the exact places we passed by, but we arrived in Mosul on January 16," he said.
He said in Isis territory he was separated from the woman and given the jihadist moniker Abu Omar, In Mosul he spent eight hours a day being indoctrinated in the group's hard line interpretation of Islam, and much of the rest of the day praying, said Khweis. He did not address claims he had fought for Isis.
"Our daily life was prayer, eating and learning about the religion for eight hours," he said. "It was pretty hard to live in Mosul. It's not like the Western countries ... There's no smoking."
"Life in Mosul is really, very bad. The people who control Mosul don't represent a religion," he declared, directly addressing the American people.
Once he had resolved to escape, he said, a friend helped him to reach the Sinjar region, where Isis is battling Kurdish forces, and surrendered to Peshmerga fighters.
It is unclear whether the interview was scripted or Khweis was speaking freely.
Earlier this week, Kurdish forces released a video appearing to show the capture of Khweis, who identified himself as an American to Kurdish militia members. Kurdish forces claim that Khweis was a member of a group of Isis militants they had exchanged fire with earlier that week.
In February, Kurdish media broadcast an interview with a Swedish teenager who they claimed had been rescued from Isis territory. In the interview the 16-year-old described how she had travelled to Isis-held territory with her husband, who was killed fighting for the jihadist group.
Khweis is likely to travel back to the US. Authorities there have not revealed what, if any, criminal charges he will face on his return.