LONDON: Intelligence agencies in the UK were reportedly aware that British “Daesh bride” Shamima Begum had been smuggled into war-torn Syria with the help of a Canadian spy, The Times reported.
MI5 and MI6, the UK’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, were aware that the schoolgirl had been trafficked after a tipoff by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, two sources told Canada’s Globe and Mail.
Begum, now 23 and living in a prison camp in northern Syria, joined Daesh by traveling to the country in February 2015, and later had her UK citizenship stripped.
The revelation will add weight to Begum’s legal claim that she was trafficked, and could lead to the reopening of separate inquiries into the affair.
In another report, The Times claimed that London’s Metropolitan Police were also aware that Begum had been in contact — along with two friends — with a former Daesh smuggler, Mohammed Al-Rashed, who worked with Canadian intelligence as part of his asylum bid.
A Supreme Court judgment failed to mention that UK authorities were aware of Canada’s involvement in Begum’s activities. The court upheld the decision to prevent the 23-year-old from returning to Britain.
The Globe and Mail reported that the CSIS had tracked down Begum’s location four days after her journey to Syria, informing MI5 and MI6 within days.
Begum is expected to renew her legal challenge at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission next month.
After being discovered in the northern Syrian camp in 2019, the former “Daesh bride” said that she had “no regrets.”
However, Begum has since claimed that she was groomed and trafficked into the war-torn country.