A female senior commander who defected from Isis has warned the three British schoolgirls who travelled to Syria in February will “never” be able to return to the UK.
The woman, who called herself Um Asmah, is one of the most high-ranking commanders to speak out after leaving the group and was interviewed by Sky News just days after fleeing Isis.
The 22-year-old told the network she met the teenagers from the border as part of her role introducing new recruits to life in the group’s self-declared ‘caliphate’.
Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase are now under-going a four month training programme in its stronghold of Raqqa to prepare for “special missions”.
Um Asmah shook her head when asked if the girls would ever return home and said: “I think they will die in Syria or Iraq.”
Her comments came amid reports the three girls had contacted their families more than three months after disappearing. One of the girls said they were healthy and well, but had no intention if travelling back to the UK, according to ITV News. The remaining two are believed to have made contact with their families in east London via the internet.
She said the girls are not particularly well-known among Isis members because there are already a lot of girls from Britain, Germany and France living there. They were “happy” to be in Syria, she added, but were unprepared for what would be expected of them there. She said one of the girls was reprimanded for showing her face to a driver.
She claimed all three were groomed by Isis who she says has developed a structured system to target vulnerable young people, especially from overseas. "Isis is not stupid, they have educated people who know how to deal with (the) psychology of others, how to deal with the human being," she explained.
"They have ways to attract people - especially foreigners. Otherwise young British people wouldn't come and say they will change the flag on Buckingham Palace."
Um Asmah said she now spends every second living in fear that militants will track her down. "I am a traitor and an unbeliever now. I am scared every day, every minute and of everyone I meet."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies