YOUNG VOICES

Concerns Grow As More Teenagers Attempt To Flee Homes And Join ISIS In Syria

11/09/2014 15:26 BST | Updated 11/09/2014 15:59 BST
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Police fear an increasing number of young girls are being inspired to flee their homes to join ISIS after two teenagers were caught trying to travel to Syria.

It has been confirmed this week by Austrian interior Ministry official Alexander Marakovits two unnamed girls from Austria, aged 16 and 14, were caught attempting to leave the country and join ISIS.

They may have been following Samra Kesinovic and Sabina Selimovic, who disappeared from their homes in Vienna back in April. Subsequently images of them with Kalashnikov rifles and surrounded by armed men were posted on social media.

sabina

Selimovic with armed men

As a result both Austrian media and police are concerned the girls, aged just 16 and 15, have become the public face for the call to jihad, according to the Daily Mail.

austrian teenagers

Selimovic and Kesinovic posted this photo to social media

The unnamed girls this week were stopped when a third girl, who was supposed to be travelling with the pair, roused the suspicions of her mother, who became concerned about the amount of luggage her daughter had packed.

The mother of the 17-year-old then called the local police on Saturday who tracked down the other two girls, the Eurasia Review reported.

It is believed that the 16-year-old has Iraqi parents, and the younger girl comes from a foster home. They allegedly told police that they didn't like Austria.

"They are victims who have fallen in with the wrong circle of friends," Marakovits told the Eurasia Review, "They were lured [to Syria] with false promises."

It is not certain whether the unnamed teenagers were in contact with Kesinovic and Selimovic, who have remained missing although Interpol are searching for them.

samra kesinovic

sabina selimovic

Profiles on Interpol of the two teenagers who went missing in April

According to The Express, the family claimed that the posts on social media seen above were not written by the teenagers who went missing in April, and say that jihadists may be posing as them and posting on their Facebook pages to encourage other teenagers to do the same.

School friends of Kesinovic and Selimovic confirmed that the pair had become radicalised after attending a local mosque.

Peter Slanar, the headmaster of the school the teenagers attended, told The Express: "I would have said a year ago that they were perfectly normal teenage girls, but then the older, Samra, started sending pictures of herself in the Muslim headscarf to fellow pupils and was trying to convert everybody to her point of view.

"There were vandalism incidents in which tables and walls had the words 'I love Al Qaeda' written on them.

"We had to act when they started saying that America was to blame for the September 11 attack. That was simply going too far."

More than 130 people from Austria are believed to be fighting as jihadists abroad, the Daily Mail reported.

However, Austrians are not the only nationality to be influenced by ISIS. Experts identified four women from the UK working together just last week, and an 18-year-old British woman hit the headlines recently when she tweeted from Syria saying she wants "David Cameron's head on a spike".

Marakovits added: "If we can catch them before they leave we have the chance to work with their parents and other institutions to bring the youngsters out of the sphere of influence that prompted them to act in this way the first place.

"Once they have left the country, even if they then changed their minds, it is then almost impossible to get them back."

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