The three London schoolgirls who fled their homes last month to join Islamic State are now believed to be in the terror group’s de facto capital, Raqqa.
Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, told their families they were going out for the day but never came home. CCTV footage showed them boarding a flight to Istanbul at London’s Gatwick Airport.
Sky News now claims that a source has told them the girls “crossed into Syria through a crossing… which is not too far from Kilis” and are now being hosted by a British girl who had contacted them before they fled.
Reporter Stuart Ramsey said: “We are told by very, very good sources within the city of Raqqa that they are there, that they are safe, and that is where they are staying – with this British girl who is hosting them.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about where they are, (and) how they got there. But we are told they are now inside Syria, they are inside Raqqa, and they are under the control of Islamic State.”
It is thought that the girl hosting them is another student from their school, Bethnal Green Academy, who disappeared earlier. Authorities have so far declined to name the 15-year-0ld, but over the weekend it emerged that letters from police informing the girls’ families their daughters would be part of the inquiry into their friend’s disappearance were handed to the girls themselves rather than their parents.
Kadiza’s sister, Halima Khanom, said: “We wouldn’t have been here today if we’d got that letter and known what was going on.”
Metropolitan Police head Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted that officers made a mistake in not communicating directly with the families, but added that parents should come forward if they believe their children are being radicalised.
Amira’s father, Abase, hit back, however, saying that he would never have allowed his daughter to leave had he seen any warning signs. “If we knew, this wouldn’t have happened. We would have discussed it and taken away their passports.”