Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Monday, 2 March 2015

CCTV Footage Shows The Three Teenage ISIS Runaways Last Spotted En Route To The Syrian Border

The Debrief: 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, and 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana waited 17 hours for a bus to take them from Istanbul to Urfa…

While the UK was up in arms about the whereabouts of three girls from Bethnal Green, London, who have allegedly run away to join ISIS, new CCTV images showed the girls waiting at Bayrampasa bus station in Istanbul (where they’d flown to earlier that day, the 17th of February).

The girls were there for a very long 17 hours, until the 18th of February, when they boarded a bus to Gaziantep, south-east Turkey, which borders Syria. What's grimmer than waiting 17 hours for a bus? The fact the bus takes a further 17 hours to arrive at its destination. Oh, and the fact that the bus is basically taking you to ISIS.

Ali Kathem, a man claiming to be a people-smuggler told James Reynolds, the BBC’s correspondent, that the girls were then driven to the Syria border. Mr Kathem says that the girls then walked the few steps over to the Syria border, where a group of ISIS fighters ‘immediately picked them up with cars.’

The girls had told their parents they were going out for the day when they left their homes, but had actually travelled to Gatwick Airport. While their families make emotional pleas for their return, and Turkish and UK authorities tussle over whether Turkish officials knew about the girls in time to stop them from crossing into Syria, new statistics have been released. According to the UK police force, 60 women and girls have travelled from the UK to Syria, including about 22 in the past year.

Helen Ball, Deputy Assistant Commissioner told the BBC: ‘When I say young, all but four of those 22 were aged 20 or younger’

‘The last five who have travelled were aged 15 and 16, so this is a growing problem and it is one of real concern. The more everyone involved in travel understands this problem and can be alerted and can be vigilant and can look out for people, the better.’

Kalsoom Bashir, co-director of Inspire, which sets about to counter extremism and gender inequality, said that it was ‘shocking but not surprising’ that ‘younger and younger’ girls are being targeted by IS. She explained ISIS have a ‘very specific campaign’ to lure young women to Syria by ‘hooking into their vulnerabilities’. She says Shamima, Amira and Kadiza are victims of ‘ideological grooming.’

You might also be interested in:

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Jihadist Fighters For Isis Are Using Social Media Just Like We Do

Egyptian Woman Stages Most Provocative Anti-Isis Protest We’ve Ever Seen (It’s Dirty)

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: Syria, Turkey