Nutella and cornflakes - the perks of being an IS teen wife in Syria

Published October 29th, 2014 - 04:00 GMT

An Austrian girl has said she feels she 'can really be free' among the radicals of the so-called Islamic State, six months after leaving her her parents with a note saying she would die for Allah.

Asked about the routine of life in IS stronghold Raqqa, Sabina Selimovic, 15, said: 'I like to eat. The food here is very similar to Austria even if it's mainly halal food.

'But you can get ketchup here, Nutella and cornflakes.' 

Austrian anti-terror agents believe the interview given by Sabina, who is now married to a jihadi fighter, was probably carried out at gunpoint.

Weeks earlier friends and family of Sabina said she had told them in online conversations she regretted leaving Vienna for Syria and wanted to come home.

Sabina and her friend Samra Kesinovic, 17, left the Austrian capital in April, leaving a note telling their parents they had gone to fight in Syria.

They come from Bosnian refugee families who settled in Austria after the former Yugoslavia collapsed into ethnic warfare in the 1990.

Born in Austria, it is believed they radicalised through a local mosque.

But the later claim Sabina wanted to leave and come back to Austria had reportedly infuriated ISIS leaders, who are waging a constant propaganda war to attract new recruits.

Anti-terrorism police in the girls' homeland said it is almost certain she would have been ordered to publicly disavow what she had said.

It is believed both Samra and Sabina married IS fighters soon after arriving in Syria. The two couples initially lived in the same room but the 15-year-old has reportedly now moved out to a different flat.

Speaking by SMS messages to French weekly Paris Match, Sabina denied claims she was pregnant and insisted she was enjoying life in Syria, where she felt free to practise her religion in a way that she did not in Austria.

The magazine did manage to confirm the teenager had only been allowed to speak to them with the permission of her husband, who was in the room as she wrote her answers.

She said after arriving to Turkey from Austria they crossed over the border into Syria on foot. They ended up in the city of Raqqa, she said, after arriving in the country with nothing other than the clothes they were wearing.

Sabina said her husband was a soldier and added: 'Here I can really be free. I can practice my religion. I couldn't do that in Vienna.'

In Vienna, experts who studied the transcript of Sabina's interview said it was almost certain she had been forced to speak to the magazine by her husband, who was a fighter in the ISIS-terrorist militia.

The experts, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the story which went all round the world about the pair wanting to leave had done a lot of damage to the ISIS campaign.

It was clear they were trying to put that right, the experts said.  

Sabina and Samra could be prosecuted if they do ever manage to return to Austria.

Austrian police who are looking into the circumstances of the girl's disappearance have also compiled a dossier about the girls' links with terrorist groups.

Before leaving the country Sabina and Samra had started lecturing schoolmates in Vienna about their lifestyle and were suspected behind a vandalism attack on their school calling for jihad.

When they disappeared, their parents found notes in their bedrooms saying 'Don't look for us. We will serve Allah – and we will die for him'.

By Damien Gayle

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like


Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive updates and enhanced content