By Mark Ellis
Last June, British twins Salma and Zahra Halane, 16, fled their family home in Manchester in the middle of the night to join ISIS fighters in Syria. They were brilliant students in the top 10 percent of their class, headed for medical school before their abrupt departure.
Another British student, Aqsa Mahmood, 20, was reported missing by her parents a year ago, then appeared in Syria in February as an advocate for the terrorist group, according to The Daily Mail.
Khadijah Dare, 22, agreed to marry an ISIS fighter on Facebook and moved to Syria in 2012. Recently she posted photos on the web of her son brandishing an AK-47.
Many of these young women were persuaded to leave their family homes due to ISIS-sponsored websites that lend a ‘romantic’ aura to their fight.
They exchange messages on Facebook, Twitter and Ask.fm, often including marriage proposals, before traveling to Syria via Turkey.
Some of these British women are suspected of running sex slave brothels for ISIS fighters in Syria, according to The Daily Mail.
They are among dozens of European women who have traveled to the Syrian battleground in the hope of becoming ‘jihadi brides’.
Some monitoring their communications are appalled by their references to sex slaves. One British woman, Umm Fariss, complained that a captured Yazidi girl dared to look her in the eye.
Hundreds of girls and women belonging to Yazidi and Christian minorities have been kidnapped, tortured and raped by ISIS.
Melanie Smith, of the King’s College International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, said there are ‘hundreds’ of girls who want to travel across Europe to Syria.
‘Hundreds. I come across girls every day who say, ‘I’m so desperate to go over there but it’s just so hard for me,’ she told The Daily Mail.
The numbers who actually make the trip are small, she admits. “But there are so many people that want to go. And it’s fairly overwhelming,” she said.
Smith said that when the women arrive in Syria marriage to one of the fighters happens quickly and easily.
She stated there is a ‘Jihad Matchmaker’ on Twitter so women can post photographs of themselves for the radicals to choose from.
Seven of the British women live and work together and are married to husbands who all fight alongside one another, Smith told The Daily Mail.
She said many are answering a call for women with no specialist or professional skills to help them build a new Islamic state. “They’re bored with their life here. They say they have more freedom in ISIS.”