Families fear UK schoolgirls who joined ISIS are dead: Report
The families of three east London schoolgirls who fled to join the Islamic State terror group in Syria nearly two years ago fear they have been killed in the war-torn country, a media report said on Sunday.
Relatives have not heard from any of the girls for more than a year when one of the teenagers Kadiza Sultana died in an air strike in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East.
The families of the three other girls had previously been in intermittent contact via telephone and the Internet but have not heard from them since May 2016, ‘The Sunday Times’ reported.
“They fear the worst but live in hope,” said Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer who has been representing the families.
A relative of Sharmeena Begum, the first of the four school friends to travel to Syria, said “Only Allah knows. It’s heartbreaking for the family”.
The schoolgirls, who were high-scoring pupils at an academy in Bethnal Green, east London, made headlines when they became the youngest British recruits to join the ISIS, aged only 15 and 16, from December 2014 to February 2015.
At least three of the girls, Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Sultana, married terrorist fighters after leaving the UK together.
Shamima, who was 15 when she left Britain, is said to have married an American recruit who left her after she became pregnant, according to the widow of a British fighter who spent time with the girls in Raqqa, the report said.
Amira’s father Abase Hussen last week pleaded to know his daughter’s fate.
“You need to find out whether she is [alive] or not,” he said.
The schoolgirls are among more than 800 Britons who are believed to have left the UK to join the ISIS or other militant groups in Syria and Iraq.