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Twin jihadi brides who fled UK try to escape Syrian refugee camp

Two sisters who sparked a counter-terror probe after they fled from the UK to join ISIS have told how they were caught trying to escape a refugee camp in a failed bid to return to Europe.

Twin sisters Salma and Zahra Halane are now being detained in a high-security detention centre after trying to escape the Al Hol camp in Syria.

They now say they want to be repatriated to Denmark, the country of their birth.

The girls – dubbed the ‘Terror Twins’ – fled their home in Chorlton when they were 16 years old to travel to Syria in June 2014. 

They were described as academically gifted but were said to have become radicalised and ran away overnight to join a so-called ISIS ‘caliphate’.

They say they have since turned their backs on IS, claiming they are ‘not happy’ with the terror group and have ‘nothing to do’ with it. 

It is thought they went on to become ‘jihadi brides’ as they married fighters from so-called Islamic State (IS) and were later widowed.

The twins had fled from IS territory last year, they said, and spent the following 16 months at a refugee camp with Zahra’s young son.

But they were recently arrested by Kurdish security services after trying to escape the camp.

Salma told ITV News: ‘I had never thought of leaving. Things were good. We had WHO (the World Health Organisation) checking me and my sister but the situation became very bad.

‘The water is yellow, I am suffering, I have injuries on me and my nephew and my sister, she has injuries on her head.

‘We tried our best to go to hospital, we tried our best to do something for our health. So it was like survival of the fittest. We wanted to go to a better care.’

She added: ‘We have nothing to do with the Islamic State. I see myself as a victim. I am not happy about the Islamic State.’

The twins’ mother, Khadra Jama, previously told The Daily Telegraph that her daughters had been banned from returning to the UK.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Zahra was caught trying to escape the Al Hol camp but Salma’s whereabouts were not known at that time. 

Ten thousand women and children live in Al Hol, in a crowded annex separate from more than 55,000 Syrian and Iraqi citizens in the camp.

Russia Today Arabic interviewed an unnamed woman – who was identified as Zahra – who was caught trying to escape from Al Hol camp last month. 

Speaking Arabic, the woman said: ‘I want to go back home.

‘If you have money, there are different ways [of escaping] and it happens very fast. You can get to Turkey easily.’

In December 2013, Salma was caught viewing ISIS propaganda at their sixth form college, which included images of a suicide vest, a boy with a machine gun and a British jihadist in Syria. 

The college did not alert the police at the time because she claimed that she was trying to find her older brother, who had previously travelled to Syria to fight. 

The twins, who have an older sister and seven brothers, left their fled their family home having stolen £840 from their father and crossed into Syria in July 2014.

Both young women moved to Raqqa, the then-capital of ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate.   

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