WALL – It turned out that the person who brought Shamima Begum, who fled to Syria at the age of 15 after leaving England to join ISIS, was a spy working for Canada. In documents obtained by the BBC, it was seen that this person shared Begum’s passport information with Canada and said that he had also brought other British nationals into Syria who wanted to join ISIS. Her lawyers are demanding that the decision to strip her of her British citizenship be reversed, citing that she is the victim of human traffickers.
Canadian and UK officials did not answer the BBC’s questions on the matter for security reasons. Shamima Begum was 15 years old when she went to Syria to join ISIS in 2015. Begüm was accompanied by Amira Abase and 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana, who were also Londoners. The three Brits had met with Mohammed Al Rashid at the Esenler Bus Station in Istanbul, who was going to immerse them in the ISIS-controlled areas in Syria.
TRANSFERS THE INFORMATION COLLECTED TO THE EMBASSY
A senior official from the anti-ISIS coalition confirmed to the BBC that Rashid was smuggling people into Syria while also relaying information to Canadian intelligence. The BBC accessed a file containing information gathered from law enforcement and intelligence sources, as well as recordings from Rashid’s computer hard drives. This file contained extraordinary details of what kind of activity Rashid was engaged in. According to the statements here, Rashid was collecting information about the people he had smuggled into Syria, and then relaying this information to the Canadian Embassy in Jordan.
Rashid, who was detained in Turkey a few days after Shamima brought Begum into Syria, said in her statement that she had shared Begum’s passport photo with Canadian authorities. At the point where Canada got the passport information, the British Police were still searching for Begum, but Begum had already entered Syria. According to the information in the file, Begum was taken from city to city in Syria through a smuggling network managed from the ISIS capital Raqqa. Rashid was the person responsible for the Turkish leg of this smuggling network and was leading the smuggling of British citizens into Syria.
‘HE ORGANIZED ALL THE DETAILS OF THE TRANSITION FROM TURKEY TO SYRIA’
Shamima Begum told the BBC’s I’m Not A Monster podcast series, “Rashid organized all the details of the passage from Turkey to Syria. “I don’t think anyone would be able to enter Syria without the smugglers,” he said. Rashid was collecting intelligence about the people he helped by taking pictures of their identities or secretly recording their images.
Rashid was also compiling information about ISIS, mapping the homes of Western fighters in Syria, locating internet cafes in ISIS-controlled areas, and taking screenshots of correspondence with ISIS fighters. Mohammed Al Rashid was detained in Urfa shortly after three Britons were smuggled into Syria. In his statement to the police, he stated that the reason for collecting detailed information about the people he had brought into Syria, including Shamima, was “transferring this information to the Canadian embassy in Jordan”.
‘WE WERE EXPECTED TO PROTECT OUR CITIZENS’
Rashid stated that he went to the Canadian embassy in Jordan to apply for asylum in 2013, and claimed that he was told that he would be granted Canadian citizenship if he gathered intelligence about ISIS. The BBC confirmed that Rashid made several trips to and from Jordan between 2013 and 2015. Tasnime Akunjee, the lawyer of the Shamima Begüm family, stated that the case they filed to appeal the decision to strip Begüm of citizenship will be heard in November and that Begüm will be defended as a victim of human trafficking. Akunjee said it was shocking that Canadian intelligence had a key role in Begum’s smuggling into Syria, adding that “we would expect a country we assumed to be our ally to protect our citizens, not bring British children into war zones.” Shamima Begum, who was stripped of her British citizenship in 2019, is currently held in a camp in northeast Syria. (BBC Turkish)