‘ISIS matchmaker feared children would be killed’ if she fled terror group – Metro News, UK


Original article by James Hockaday, Metro News

British ISIS member Tooba Gondal wants to return to the UK (Picture: Rojava Information Center)

A jihadi bride dubbed ‘the ISIS Matchmaker’ was told her two children would be killed if she tried to flee the terrorist group, her family have said. Tooba Gondal, who called Britain ‘filthy’ and posed for a picture with an assault rifle shortly after reaching Syria, got her nickname for luring other British girls to marry ISIS militants. The Home Office have barred her from the UK, but her family are pleading for her safe return, claiming she was brainwashed and felt ‘trapped’ over threats her children would be murdered if she left.

According to her 20-year-old sister Maryam, Gondal tried to leave ISIS a few times over the past three years and only managed to escape when her two-year-old son Ibrahim and one-year-old daughter Asiya were close to starvation in the town Baghuz – ISIS’ last stronghold which has been decimated by US-backed forces. The 25-year-old and her malnourished children were caught trying to cross the border into Turkey and now are being held in the Ain Issa refugee camp in Syria.

Maryam says her mum longs to see her grandchildren in person and ‘kisses a photo of them on her phone every day,’ reports The Times. In an interview with the Rojava Information Centre, the former Goldsmiths University English student said she ‘feels British.’ She added: ‘I know the British public are scared of us. They don’t want to deal with us, but they must.’ She says ISIS brides like herself and Shamima Begum ‘just want a normal life again’ and are not a threat to British society, adding that she would ‘lose her sanity’ if she had to spend years stuck in a refugee camp in poor conditions. Her father, Mohammed, 59, says she was served with a Home Office exclusion in November, banning her from the UK. He says the mother from Walthamstow, east London, had 28 days to appeal but couldn’t because the letter was dated October 2017.

Gondal and her children are living in the Ain Issa refugee camp (Picture: Rojava Information Center

It is not clear what nationality the children are as they were fathered by two different husbands who both died in battle. Gondal was born in France but has permanent British residency rights, having moved to the UK as a toddler.

The family, who say Gondal used to love going out clubbing and enjoyed fashion and smoking before being radicalised, was brainwashed online aged 21 before travelling to Syria in 2015. The Rojava Information Centre told Metro.co.uk: ‘Despite her protestations to innocence, Tooba Gombal has a well-evidenced track record of jihadi recruitment and propaganda, and must be brought to justice.’ The group says Gombal and other ISIS members ought to be tried an international court in the region where they committed their atrocities. The Autonomous Administration in North East Syria is currently seeking international support to set one up.

‘The Syrian Democratic Forces lost around 10,000 fighters in the military struggle to defeat ISIS, and the region they defend is now calling urgently for international support so that ISIS can be eradicated as an ideology and organisation,’ the centre added. ‘The camps where an estimated 12,000 foreign ISIS members now reside are a time-bomb waiting to explode. ‘If nothing is done, ISIS will strengthen and multiply, returning stronger than ever and rendering the SDF’s [Syrian Democratic Force’s] enormous sacrifices in vain. ‘If ISIS is going to be truly defeated, the UK and the international community which worked to militarily defeat ISIS need to provide concrete material and legal support, not just close their eyes and hope the problem goes away.’ An estimated 10,000 SDF fighters died in the military struggle against ISIS.