4 Jul 2015

Two schoolgirls who went to Syria ‘married to IS fighters’

Two of the three teenage girls from Bethnal Green who went to live in the ‘Islamic State’ have become jihadi brides, according to their families.

CCTV of three girls apparently crossing from Turkey to Syria

Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, who were all pupils at Bethnal Green Academy in east London, fled Britain in February.

The families say two of the girls have contacted them to reveal that they are now married to men from the Islamic State group.

The identities of which of the three are now married has not been revealed.

It erodes significantly hopes that they will come back. Tasnime Akunjee

Tasnime Akunjee, a solicitor representing the families, told the Guardian: “It has caused a lot of distress. It entrenches their lives in Syria, rather than in Britain. It erodes significantly hopes that they will come back.”

The girls have told their families that they have been separated and are living in and around the IS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.

Video ‘unlikely’ to be genuine

Two of them have married men in their 20s in a ceremony approved by the jihadi authorities after reportedly picking their husbands from an approved list of militants.
The news emerged after a video was released online which reportedly showed the three girls walking around Raqqa and carrying automatic rifles.

But Mr Akunjee said it was unlikely to be genuine footage of the east London girls.

He said: “At the time the video was shot, two of the girls are known to be married and separated from their friends from east London.

“The families think the video is unlikely to be them. All three are living apart and those who are married are under the aegis of their husbands and are unlikely to be under the aegis of some woman leader.”

CCTV of three girls apparently crossing from Turkey to Syria

The three girls are reported to have followed in the footsteps of another teenager, Sharmeena Begum, who travelled to Syria via Turkey in December.

Her father, Mohammad Uddun, said the 15-year-old was close friends with the three girls. He told the Daily Mail he warned police and teachers to watch the trio after his daughter disappeared.

Footage later emerged of a man appearing to help the three girls travel from Turkey to Syria.

Members of their girls’ families, who appeared before a committee of MPs in March, said they were normal teenagers, and raised concerns about how the Turkish authorities dealt with the disappearances.

Police believe around 600 Britons have travelled to Syria and Iraq since the conflict began, but around half are now believed to have returned to the UK.