A mother from London has fled to Syria with her two children to join Islamic State fighters. Rehana Begum Islam disappeared with her eight-year-old son and three-year-old daughter on 14 February. She flew from Heathrow to Istanbul and then took an internal flight to Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.
The Daily Mail reports that she is reported to have been helped across the border by the same Syrian national who was arrested last week on suspicion of helping the three ‘Jihadi schoolgirls’ do the same. Turkish intelligence claimed to have found her ID documents on the laptop of Mohammed al-Rashed
Mrs Islam’s husband, Azizul, said that he was devastated by his wife’s disappearance. “It’s really hard for me, I haven’t seen my kids for more than a month. I can’t even sleep without my kids.
“My question is why did she go there? She has two kids, she has a family, and this house is in her name. Why has she left everything? This is really unbelievable.
“When the police told me she travelled to Gaziantep – I’ve seen it in the news, so many British people are trying to travel there – it came into my mind that maybe she’s gone to Syria but still I can’t believe it.”
Mr Islam said he had no idea how his wife was radicalised. “If I knew anything I would do everything to stop my wife, especially my two kids. I do everything for my kids since they were born. I look after the kids like I’m their mother.
“I play the role of mother because my wife can’t handle them sometimes. When I married her she wasn’t religious, she was like a normal girl, she didn’t even cover herself. But a couple of years ago she started covering up and praying five times a day.”
Turkish intelligence has blamed Britain for allowing the woman to slip through the net, saying that UK authorities did not inform them for nine days that she may be travelling to Syria.
Security services now believe that at least 600 Britons have travelled to join jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq, including 22 women who have travelled in the last 12 months.