A senior female commander from Islamic State has told Sky News she has no doubt that three London teenagers who crossed into Syria in February were groomed by a team of social media experts in Raqqa.
The woman, who calls herself Um Asmah and who defected from ISIS just days before the report, was the first person to contact foreign girls crossing the border.
Um Asmah, whose relatives are senior ISIS commanders, says she delivered the girls to a base in Raqqa where they are now undergoing a four-month training regime for “special missions”.
Foreign fighters are taught to fight and oversee missions in Syria and Iraq – but with a specific plan, now revealed for the first time, to travel back to Europe and carry out attacks there.
Speaking in a secret location in Turkey, she says it is possible fighters are already being trained in Europe, but she confirmed most of the training was in Syria.
Asked if the girls will be allowed to return home, she said they will “never” go home and are more likely to “die in Iraq or Syria”.
Um Asmah says ISIS has a well-structured grooming system that can psychologically target vulnerable youngsters like the three British girls.
“ISIS is not stupid, they have educated people who know how to deal with (the) psychology of others, how to deal with the human being. All these are in IS,” she said.
“They have ways to attract people – especially foreigners. Otherwise young British people wouldn’t come and say they will change the flag on Buckingham Palace.
“ISIS have the ability to manipulate the minds of young people. If they can convince foreigners, it is even easier to convince Arabs and Syrians.
Now on the run, Um Asmah draws an imaginary cut across her throat when asked if she can ever return. She says she lives in fear of ISIS tracking her down, adding: “I am a traitor and an unbeliever now. I am scared every day, every minute and of everyone I meet.
“I am a young girl. I want to live my life, I want to travel, go to cafes, meet friends like any normal girl.”
“You cannot have a mind of your own, you have to follow their orders.”