Canadian spy smuggled 3 UK teenegers into Syria to join ISIS

    A spy working for Canadian intelligence "trafficked" Shamima Begum and two other British schoolgirls into Islamic State group-controlled areas of Syria, the BBC has claimed.

    Mohammed Al Rasheed helped Begum, then 15, Kadiza Sultana, then 16, and Amira Abase, then 16, travel from Istanbul bus station to the Syrian border in 2015, where they entered territories controlled by the extremist group.

    Turkey had reported at the time the arrest of a man in 2015 after Begum and the other girls went missing.

    Al Rasheed now says he assisted other British men, women, and children enter Syria but only to pass this information, along with other intelligence on IS, on to the Canadian embassy in Jordan.

    He claims that the embassy had promised him Canadian citizenship if he assisted with information gathering on IS, which by 2015 controlled large parts of eastern and northern Syria and Iraq.

    This included Begum's passport details, which Canada shared with the UK but allegedly not the whole story on Al Rasheed's role in IS trafficking operations until much later when the plot was uncovered, according to an explosive new book.

    A senior intelligence agent confirmed to the BBC that Al Rasheed was passing information about IS in Syria on to Canadian intelligence while smuggling people into the war zone.

    The revelation could be a key part of Begum's efforts to have her British citizenship reinstated and return to the UK, after spending years in harrowing conditions at a detention camp in Syria.

    Begum had her British citizenship removed by then Home Secretary Sajid Javid in 2019 on grounds of national security due to her alleged role in IS, rendering her stateless and stranded in Syria.

    Information that she was a victim of trafficking as a minor would be "one of the main arguments" in Begum's challenge of the UK government's decision to take away her passport during a legal hearing in November, Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer for her family told the BBC.

    "The UK has international obligations as to how we view a trafficked person and what culpability we prescribe to them for their actions," he told the broadcaster.

    Begum gave birth to three children during her time in Syria, all of whom have died.

    Al Rasheed said he went to the Canadian embassy in Amman in 2013 seeking asylum but was told citizenship would be conditional that he shared intelligence on IS.

    He made numerous visits to Jordan between 2013 and 2015 until he was arrested by Turkish police, the BBC said, days after Begum was trafficked to Syria.

    Begum confirmed to the BBC in the upcoming 'I'm Not A Monster' podcast Al Rasheed's role in the operation.

    "He organised the entire trip from Turkey to Syria… I don't think anyone would have been able to make it to Syria without the help of smugglers," she claimed.

    "He had helped a lot of people come in… We were just doing everything he was telling us to do because he knew everything, we didn't know anything."


    Missing UK schoolgirls helped into Syria by ‘foreign spy’

    March 12, 2015

    Missing UK schoolgirls helped into Syria by ‘foreign spy’

    Mevlut Cavusoglu was reported to have said that the person in question, who had since been arrested, was not an intelligence officer for a European country or America.

    A source in the Turkish prime minister’s office confirmed to Channel 4 News foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Rugman that the person arrested had been working for a western, not an Arab country.

    Other coalition members include Australia and Canada as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates.

    Turkish journalist Ceren Kenar later tweeted “my sources say the person arrested for helping the British girls that joined IS, works for Canadian intelligence service.”

    My sources say the person arrested for helping the British girls that joined IS, works for Canadian intelligence service

    — Ceren Kenar (@cerenkenar) March 12, 2015

    Turkish newspaper Hurriyet described how Mr Cavusoglu told a TV interviewer that when he passed the news on to his British counterpart Philip Hammond, Mr Hammond responded with the words “as usual”.

    A spokesman for the Foreign Office said “we are aware that an arrest has been made by the Turkish national police and the Metropolitan Police have informed the families of the three girls.

    “There has been close co-operation between ourselves and the Turkish authorities, and the Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with his Turkish counterpart.”


    The three girls, 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana and 15-year-olds Amira Abase and Shamima Begum, boarded a flight from London’s Gatwick Airport to Istambul on 17 February without telling their families their plans.

    CCTV footage later showed that they had waited some hours in a bus station before catching a coach to the border with Syria.

    Their families have complained that they were not contacted directly by police who had interviewed the girls over the earlier disappearance of another school friend.

    All three failed to pass on to their parents a letter that police gave them at the time of those interviews.


    Canada denies claim its spy helped missing UK schoolgirls

    March 12, 2015

    Turkey said it had caught a spy working for a country in the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State who had helped three British girls cross into Syria to join the militant group.

    A European security source familiar with the case of the three girls said the person in question had a connection with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) spy agency.

    However, a Canadian government source in Ottawa said the person was not a Canadian citizen and was not employed by CSIS. The source did not respond when asked whether the person had been working for CSIS.

    Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had told broadcaster A Haber in an interview: “Do you know who turned out to be the person helping these three girls cross into Syria and join ISIS?”

    “He was caught. It turned out to be someone who works for the intelligence of a country from the coalition.”

    Mr Cavusoglu did not specify which country the spy was working for but said it was not the European Union or the United States. The coalition also includes countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Australia and Canada.

    Mr Cavusoglu said he shared this information with his British counterpart, who had replied “as usual”.

    Spy in custody

    A Turkish official who declined to be identified said the spy was now in custody.

    “The person was working for the intelligence agency of a coalition country but is not a citizen of that country. The person was not a Turkish citizen either,” he said.

    Islamic State seized large swathes of land last June, including territory close to the Turkish border. The US-led coalition is using mostly air power in an attempt to push the Sunni militant group back.

    British police and the girls’ families have issued appeals for their daughters to return home after they flew to Istanbul from London on February 17th. Friends Amira Abase (15), Shamima Begum (15) and Kadiza Sultana (16) are thought to have since entered Syrian territory controlled by Islamic State.

    Thousands of foreigners from more than 80 nations including Britain, other parts of Europe, China and the United States have joined the ranks of Islamic State and other radical groups in Syria and Iraq, many crossing through Turkey.

    Turkey has said it needs more information from foreign intelligence agencies to intercept them, pointing to cases such as the three London schoolgirls who fled Britain.


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    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

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