Home Secretary Theresa May has declined to say whether three British jihadi brides reported to be on the run from the Islamic State terror group might be allowed back into the UK.
Asked about reports that the teenage girls have gone missing in Iraq after being married to militants from the group – also known as Isil or Isis – Mrs May would only say that attempts to return are dealt with on a ‘case-by-case’ basis.
She confirmed that some young Britons who went to Syria or Iraq to join IS have come back after becoming disillusioned.
Reports of the girls’ flight appeared on the Facebook page of Mosul Eye, which purports to be written by a blogger in the city, part of the large area straddling the Iraq-Syria border which has been occupied by IS.
On 2nd May, Mosul Eye posted: “Three girls, (Foreigners – British) married to ISIL militants, reported missing, and ISIL announced to all its check points to search for them. It is believed that those girls have escaped.”
In a later post he added: “The latest info I got on them is they are still on the run, but still in Mosul, and ISIL is thoroughly searching for them and hasn’t captured them yet.
“They are Brits, not immigrants, and they are very young teens (around 16 years old). That’s all I have about them for now.”
The information in the report could not be independently verified and the exact identity of the girls and their fate is not known.
Reports suggest around 600 people from the UK have gone to join IS in Syria and Iraq, including young women.
Three British schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy – Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana – disappeared from their homes in east London in February and flew to Turkey, before crossing the border into Syria.
It is understood they were following another 15-year-old girl who travelled there in December.
Asked whether the on-the-run girls would be permitted to return to the UK, Mrs May told ITV1’s Good Morning Britain: “I’m not able to talk about individual cases.
“Obviously there are young people who go to Syria, some of whom find that what they see there is not what they thought it was going to be.
“We look on a case-by-case basis, and people have come back – youngsters who have gone there and suddenly realise what a mistake they’ve made.”