August 21, 2020

Exclusive: British Islamic State twin sister alive with young son in Syrian detention camp
A woman from Manchester who joined Islamic State as a teenager alongside her twin sister is alive and being held with her young son in a controversial camp run by Syrian Kurdish forces, sources in north-east Syria have confirmed to The Telegraph. Salma and Zahra Halane were 16 when they fled their home in Chorlton in June 2014 to travel to Syria, but their fate has not been known since IS lost the last of its territory in fighting against Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in March 2019. Zahra was recently caught trying to escape from the sprawling Al Hol camp, where she had lived for 16 months, and was transferred last week from a women's prison to a new high-security extension to Roj camp, where humanitarians worry the most dangerous IS supporters are being moved, sources in the camps said. Salma’s whereabouts is unknown but she is also believed to be alive. Dubbed the "terror twins" in the media, Zahra and Salma remain committed IS supporters, according to Women in Al Hol. The fact that their presence went unreported and that at least one of them attempted to escape illustrates the danger of leaving tens of thousands of jihadists under the guard of a militia in a war-torn country, experts say. The Halane twins, who moved to Manchester at a young age from Denmark, crossed into Syria in July 2014, shortly after IS declared a caliphate. The twins, whose elder brother had reportedly travelled to Syria the year before, moved to Raqqa, the caliphate's capital, and soon married Islamic State fighters. Their youth and apparent enthusiasm for life under IS attracted widespread attention, and their journey to jihad was later copied by the Bethnal Green trio - teenage girls from an academy in London of whom only Shamima Begum is known to have survived.
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