Two Austrian teenagers who moved to Syria to form relationships with Islamic State jihadists are pregnant and have told their families they want to return home
Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, had been dubbed poster girls for the jihadist groups after fleeing to Raqqa in central Syria. They have since married foreign fighters in the city and become pregnant.
But the city’s strict Islamic lifestyle has turned sour for the girls, who want to return to Europe.
They have contacted their loved ones and told them they are sick of living with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) jihadis.
But they also said they don’t feel they can flee from their unwanted new life because too many people now associate them with Isil.
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Austrian officials have said the girls have discussed going back home but that the country’s current laws were blocking their return.
“The main problem is about people coming back to Austria,” said Karl-Heinz Grundboeck, the Austrian interior ministry spokesman said. “Once they leave, it is almost impossible.”
Kesinovic and Selimovic grew up in Vienna with western freedoms that are now restricted by Islamist rules. As women they cannot talk to who they like, freely give opinions or wearing revealing clothing.
Those arduous rules have begun to chafe, prompting a change of heart that contrasts with the defiant note they left behind for their parents when they fled back in April.
It read: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah — and we will die for him.”
Social media accounts believed to belong to the girls initially portrayed great enthusiasm for the life in Syria, posting pictures and claiming they were enjoying an adventure.
They posted on social media photographs of themselves handling assault weapons and wearing black, full-length burkas.
They are thought to have travelled to Turkey and then to have crossed the border into Syria, having become radicalised after attending a local mosque in Vienna and reading about jihad on the internet.