Monday 24 October 2016

British teen killed in Syria 'wanted to return home after seeing public execution'

Tomás Heneghan

Published 12/08/2016 | 13:14

Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum
Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum
Schoolgirls Shamima Begum (15), Kadiza Sultana (16) and Amira Abase (15) in Gatwick Airport last February

A British teenager who left the UK to join ISIS planned to leave Syria before she was killed in a reported airstrike earlier this year.

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Kadiza Sultana (17) who was a student at Bethnal Green Academy in East London, had travelled to Syria last year with two friends.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight, the family’s lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said Kadiza wanted to leave ISIS but was put off after she witnessed the public killing of another teenager who tried to flee.

It is believed 17-year-old Austrian teenager, Samra Kesinovic was beaten to death by the Islamist extremist group in the Syrian city of Raqqa after trying to escape.

Kadiza is thought to be the first female ISIS member from Britain to have been killed in Syria since the group first came to global prominence.

Mr Akumjee said: “If ISIS were to detect and capture you, their punishment was quite brutal for trying to leave.

“In the week [Kadiza] was thinking about these issues, a young Austrian girl who had been caught trying to leave ISIS territory was, by all reports, beaten to death publicly.

“I think Kadiza took that as a bad omen and decided not to take the risk.”

Mr Akumjee also said he believed Kadiza “found out quite quickly that propaganda doesn’t match up with the reality”.

Kadiza first travelled to Syria in February 2015 when she was only 16 years old, alongside her two friends Shamima Begum and Amira Abase who were both 15 at the time.

The trio left flew from London’s Gatwick Airport to Turkey at the time and then travelled through Turkey to the Syrian border.

However during a call to her 26-year-old sister Halima Khanom, who works as a projects coordinator at the Imperial War Museum in the UK, Kadiza said: “I don’t have a good feeling. I feel scared.”

The family were later contacted from Syrian to tell them Kadiza had been killed.

Halima later told ITV News: “We were expecting this in a way. But at least we know she is in a better place. She is gone.”

After originally arriving in Syria Kadiza married an American member of ISIS who was later killed during fighting.

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