Three secret Brit jihadi brides found in same Syrian refugee camp as Shamima Begum say conditions are 'five star'
THREE secret Brit jihadi brides who were found in the same Syrian refugee camp as Shamima Begum say the conditions in the camp are “five star”.
The women have described life in the camp – the same one where Shamima Begum is now staying – as being “five star”.
Each of the brides in the camp have mounted legal bids in an attempt to return to the UK, the Mail on Sunday reported.
The camp is host to a ‘hawala bank’, which delivers cash sent to jihadists by relatives and supporters overseas.
It is illegal under the UK Terrorism Act to send money abroad if the recipient has joined or aligned themselves with a proscribed terrorist group, such as Isis.
Offenders can be slapped with a 14-year prison sentence.
During the Mail’s visit, the three women spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of hampering their cases.
They alleged that people smugglers were paid to take British Isis brides from the Al-Hol camp to Turkey, from where some may have returned to the UK.
They also said British women attended classes where they learned how to wear Western clothes, watch music and take part in zumba classes, and that boys were removed from the camp at the age of 13 to stop them having sex with women to “expand the caliphate”.
The Al-Roj camp, which sits close to the borders with Turkey and Iran, is home to around 800 families.
It’s much-preferred to the infamous Al-Hol centre, which was 80 miles away, and home to 15,000 families.
'FOR YOUR MENTAL STATE, IT'S MUCH BETTER'
The Al-Roj, which is ringed by a high fence to prevent escapes, has a health centre, a school, playground, nursery, and a collection of shops selling fresh produce.
Male Isis fighters were kept away in separate camps and prisons.
‘Rachel’, a mother-of-three who was born in the UK, was among those who had recently arrived at the camp.
Her reluctance to speak was reportedly centred on a deal she claimed her mother had struck with Channel 4 for an interview.
She appeared happy with the conditions in the camp, where women had a chance to join classes dealing with everything from sewing to deradicalisation. They were encouraged to shed their veils and hijabs, in favour of Western fashion.
‘It’s cleaner, it’s more organised and it’s much, much, better [than Al-Hol]. It’s five-star,’ she said. ‘For your mental state, it’s much better.’
One woman, ‘Jannath’, claimed her white convert husband tricked her into coming to Syria in late 2015.
‘Jannah’, who was born to a middle-class Muslim family, said she thought she was going on a belated honeymoon to Turkey, but wound jup crossing the border by bus, while pregnant, instead.
She ended up in Raqqa – the location of Isis’ then de facto capital – where her husband was killed a year later.
'IT'S FIVE STAR'
She fled to southern Syria and married again, but her second husband was killed in an airstrike. The mother of two ended up being detained in Baghouz.
She occasionally received money sent to the camp from her brother-in-law, in Britain, she said. The International Red Cross had also recently smuggled in a letter from her father – the first communication she’d had with her parents in six years.
While such letters were banned, she said a blind eye was often turned.
Residents could access cash via a building container containing a ‘hawala’ bank, she said, which was an informal money transfer system based on trust, between a network of brokers.
Jannath reportedly believed that she will automatically be allowed back into the UK if she can somehow get to the British consulate in Turkey, even if her legal bid was rejected, the Mail reported.
Another British-born woman, who went by the name ‘Nazma’ for the purpose of the article, had been stripped of her dual nationality after the fall of the Isis stronghold of Baghouz in March 2019.
She was cautiously optimistic that her bid to return to Britain would succeed.
‘My lawyer is my voice and I know the intelligence service know my history, they know my family, so I think I’m fine,’ she said. ‘I think my case is okay.’
She was aware that the Supreme Court had recently rejected an application by Begum, the most famous resident of Al-Roj, who also had dual nationality.
Begum was 15 when she left her home in Bethnal Green, east London, and fled to the war-ravaged country to marry an ISIS terrorist.
The bride, now 21, is living at the Roj camp in Syria after the fall of the terror group's caliphate.
And she is spending her time watching ITV's Good Morning Britain in her tent and binging blockbusters such as Men in Black, the Daily Mail reports.
Begum also reportedly enjoys playing charades and dancing to Shakira music with her fellow campmates.
She has pleaded with Brits to keep an "open mind" over her returning to the UK with the change in her appearance the biggest hint she has been de-radicalised.
In a documentary released this summer, she begs: "I would say to people in the UK, give me a second chance because I was still young when I left".
But Begum last month lost a legal battle to return to the UK for a court appeal over the removal of her British citizenship.
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