The two Austrian teenage girls who became ‘poster girls’ for the jihad in Syria are now desperate to come home after getting completely disillusioned with their new lifestyles.
Samra Kesinovic, 17, and her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15, who grew up in the Austrian capital Vienna and enjoyed the freedom to wear whatever they wanted, and to meet whoever they wanted, were preached to about the evils of their lifestyle by clerics at a local mosque. They persuaded them that the only way to know true peace was to head to Syria and take part in the holy war.
The girls had started lecturing schoolmates about their lifestyle and were even suspected of being behind a vandalism attack at their school calling for jihad. When they left Vienna in April they almost certainly had somebody helping them to get out of the country, say police, and left behind a note telling their parents: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah – and we will die for him”.
But once they had arrived they were married off to local fighters and both the girls are also now believed to be pregnant.
Police in their homeland Austria say that the girls’ social media accounts were taken over and manipulated to broadcast fake messages about the new life they were having and using them as poster girls to encourage other young girls to head to Syria.
But security service insiders have told Austrian media that the girls have somehow managed to contact their families to say they have had enough, and want to come home.
However they warn that there is almost now no chance that they will be able to leave their new lives after they became internationally famous and the images were shared all round the world.
The social media accounts showed them smiling and wearing their new traditional clothing, and flanked by armed Muslim fighters. Some of the images even showed the girls apparently carrying weapons, but it was later revealed that many of the images had been faked and actually images that are been taken years earlier of other women and reposted on the girls social media pages to make it seem as if it was them.
A Security services insider in Austria said: “It is clear that whoever is operating their pages it probably is not the girls, and that they are being used for propaganda.”
Austrian newspaper Oesterreich which revealed that the girls now wanted to come home is known to have close connections to those investigating the disappearance of the two girls and is in close contact with their families. Both sets of parents had been trying to find ways to contact their daughters and it is believed some way of communicating has been established.
The paper said that the girls are currently in the Islamic State controlled city of Rakka in northern Syria, had been married to Chechen fighters upon their arrival in Syria and were both pregnant.
It said however that the girls who believed the propaganda put to them in the local mosque run by radical preacher Ebu Tejma have now changed their minds after being faced with the realities of the brutal ISIS regime and want to return home.
Spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Karl-Heinz Grundboeck, said however that decision may be too late. He said: “The main problem is about people coming back to Austria. Once they leave it is almost impossible.”