A 17-year-old Muslim girl from London who went to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with two classmates in February 2015 has been killed in Russian airstrikes, the family's lawyer told media.
The three British schoolgirls' escape to Syria via Turkey had shocked the United Kingdom and the Muslim community there and emphasised the lure of jihad. They were straight A students from Bethnal Green. The girls, Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, had reportedly become jihadi brides there. Abase and Begum were aged 15 when they left.
Sultana had married an American of Somali origin, but became a widow soon after. According to reports by ITV, Sultana told her sister that she was plotting to escape and she was scared there.
The girl reportedly died in a purported Russian airstrike in Islamic State's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa earlier this year. Her family, who had been in touch with her, said that Sultana was planning to cross into Turkey from Raqqa. However, she had expressed that she had "zero" confidence of succeeding as the borders were closed.
"I don't have a good feeling, like I feel scared...If something goes wrong that's it," Sultana had told her sister Halima in a phone conversation, according to ITV.
"We were expecting this in a way. But at least we know she is in a better place," said Halima. "We do not wish her name to come up in the headlines again... She is gone and we would like to respect her wishes."
Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer representing the three girls and helping Sultana's family on a possible escape plan, told the news channel that Sultana was illusioned with ISIS soon after reaching Syria. Less than six months after going there, she had told her family that she wanted to escape.
"You would move heaven and earth to get any child back from a danger zone, and this family had done all they could and stretched every sinew to get their daughter, their sibling back home. But there is always the situation when you have a person in a warzone that the worst could happen, and unfortunately it just wasn't possible to have her home before the risk caught up with her," Akunjee said.