Austrian anti-terrorism police believe that an interview given to a French magazine allegedly with one of the two teenage girls who fled to Syria to join in the jihad was probably carried out at gunpoint.
Earlier in the month based on conversations the girls had with parents and friends it was revealed that they regretted leaving Austria and wanted to come home.
Samra Kesinovic, 17, and her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15, left the Austrian capital Vienna in April this year, leaving a note for their parents explaining that they had gone to fight in Syria, a decision believed to be influenced by their recent radicalisation through a local mosque.
But the later claim that they wanted to leave and come back to Austria had reportedly infuriated ISIS leaders waging a constant propaganda war to win new talent. According to anti-terrorism police in the girls’ homeland it is almost certain that they would have been ordered to retract anything they had said to keep the flow of recruits coming.
An Austrian security insider said: “If they really want it to be believable that the girls are now claiming they don’t want to come home, they should let them give the interview on neutral territory where it’s possible to see that they aren’t being threatened by a gun and that if the claim they want to come home is untrue, they have the opportunity to walk back into Syria.”
Both the girls were instantly married as soon as they crossed over the border into Syria and although Sabina and her husband initially lived in the same room with Samra and her husband, the 15-year-old has now reportedly moved out into a new flat.
Speaking over SMS text messages to French weekly magazine Paris Match, Sabina said she was not pregnant as had been claimed and added that she was really enjoying life in Syria and felt free to enjoy her religion in a way that she did not in Austria.
The magazine did manage to confirm that the teenager had only been allowed to speak to them with the permission of her husband who was also reportedly in the room as she wrote back answers to the questions.
She said that after arriving to Turkey from Austria they had crossed over the border into Syria on foot and ended up in the city of Rakka, and that when they went to Syria they had nothing other than the clothes they were wearing.
Sabina said her “husband” was a soldier and added: “Here I can really be free. I can practice my religion. I couldn’t do that in Vienna.”
In Vienna, experts who studied the transcript of the interview said it was almost certain that the teenager had been forced to speak to the magazine by her husband, who was a fighter in the ISIS-terrorist militia.
Speaking on condition of not being named the experts said that the story which went all round the world about the pair wanting to leave had done a lot of damage to the ISIS campaign, and it was clear they were trying to put that right.
Asked about the routine of life in a war zone and how they started the day, Sabina said: “I like to eat. The food here is very similar to Austria even if it’s mainly halal food. But you can get ketchup here, Nutella and cornflakes.”
The two Austrian teenage girls could find themselves prosecuted if they do ever manage to return.
Austrian police who are looking into the circumstances of the girl’s disappearance have also compiled a dossier about the girls’ links with terrorist groups. It includes the note left for their parents in their bedrooms in the capital Vienna saying “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah – and we will die for him”. The girls had even started lecturing schoolmates about their lifestyle and were suspected of being behind a vandalism attack at their school calling for jihad.