Austrian teens Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, left their homes in April to allegedly become ISIS brides in Raqqa, Syria. Now that they've been there for a little while—and reportedly gotten pregnant—they want to come home. Sadly, that might not be so easy.
When the girls first escaped to the Middle East via Turkey, they left a note for their parents which stated, "Don't look for us. We will serve Allah–and we will die for him." Now, according to a report in The Independent, the girls have contacted their parents through social media and expressed that they want to come home. The Austrian government isn't sure that will work.
When questioned about the girls' predicament by an Austrian paper, Karl-Heinz Grunboeck, a spokesman for the Austrian interior ministry, said, "The main problem is about people coming back to Austria. Once they leave, this is almost impossible."
The government isn't even sure if they're both still alive. Last month, The Telegraph reported that one of the two was possibly killed in fighting. Konrad Kugler, the director-general of public security for Austrian police, said, "The parents of the girl concerned have been informed that there is a risk that their daughter is dead." Alexander Marakovits, another spokesman for the Austrian interior ministry, added, "We also have this information, but cannot say with absolute certainty that it is true. But the parents have been informed their daughter could be dead."
Kesinovic and Selimovic have appeared in ISIS propaganda posts on Twitter holding guns. Austrian criminal lawyer Andreas Venier told The New York Post that if the girls do make it back home, they could be prosecuted:
Participation in a terrorist organization is a punishable offense in Austria which doesn't just mean standing on the front line and pulling the trigger, it also includes supporting or supplying information to the Islamic State in Syria or Iraq. If the girls are found to have been involved with the terror group, they could face a prison sentence of up to five years even as minors.
Selimovic and Kesinovic are not the only Westerners to face this predicament. At least 160 Austrian nationals and hundreds of other Europeans from France and Germany have joined ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria. Weirdly enough, a lot of them are teen girls that ISIS recruited through social media.
[Photos via Interpol]