Girls who ‘escaped Isis’ not east London teens, say families

Parents of Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana, and Amira Abase say three teenage females reportedly on run are not their daughters

 The families of three London girls who ran off to Syria have said their hopes that they fled from the Islamic State have been dashed.

Reports that three teenage British females were on the run, following claims from a blogger in Mosul, led to speculation that it may have been the three girls from the Bethnal Green Academy in east London, who fled Britain in February.

However on Thursday, the families of Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, said inquiries had led them to believe the girls were still in Isis-controlled territory, understood to mean in or around Raqqa, in north Syria.

In February, they fled to Turkey and then on to Syria amid speculation they could be married to Isis fighters.

British police said on Thursday that two of the three girls claimed to be on the run might be twins Zahra and Salma Halane, 16. They fled Manchester to join Isis last year, married fighters and were recently widowed after their militant spouses were killed.

The blogger, who goes by the moniker Mosul Eye, also said the three girls who had escaped, were being hunted by Isis militants.

But the families of the three east London girls said the reports had given them hope of seeing their loved ones again. “We … were initially buoyed by the reporting in the press of three girls attempting to leave Isis-controlled Syria, however after our lawyer, Mr [Tasnime] Akunjee, made his own enquiries, we are confident that the girls in question are not one and the same.

“We pass on our heartfelt wishes to the relatives of the three girls in Mosul, it cannot be easy for the relatives knowing that their children are being pursued by one of the world’s more lethal militia groups.

“As ever, we pray for the return of all children who find themselves in Isis-controlled territory to their families in stable countries far away from any warzone, which is where any such children belong.”


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