Friday, March 13, 2015

Video shows missing Ethiopian born Amira Abase and UK teens at Turkey-Syria border

(CNN)A video purportedly shows three British schoolgirls preparing to cross the Turkish border last month into Syria, where the teens are believed to have traveled to join ISIS, a Turkish TV network reported Friday.

If authentic, the video would represent the first publicly released images showing the girls at the Turkey-Syria border.

The video, released by Turkish TV network A Haber and distributed by Reuters, shows three warmly dressed females who resemble the missing teens standing with luggage outside a car and talking to at least one man who is helping them with the bags.


The footage purportedly was recorded February 19 in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, just north of Aleppo, Syria, A Haber reported. Two days before, East London classmates Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, boarded a Turkish Airlines plane from London's Gatwick Airport to Istanbul without their families' knowledge, according to British police.

"Put your bags. ... Hurry, don't stop here," a man says in the video.

The girls in the video wear coats, two with fur-lined hoods covering their heads. A third wears a hijab.

One appears to be looking at a cell phone.

"He just hung up," one of them says.

A man takes a bag from the trunk of a yellow vehicle. The vehicle's license plate has a number that indicates it is registered in the Gaziantep area.

It wasn't immediately clear how A Haber obtained the video. CNN couldn't immediately verify the footage's authenticity.

The video's release came a day after Turkey's foreign minister said his country arrested a "spy" who allegedly helped the British girls get into Syria. The alleged agent was working for a country that is part of an international anti-ISIS coalition, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday.

Separately, a Turkish official speaking on condition of anonymity said that the suspect is not Turkish, and is not a citizen of the country for which he was working.

Earlier video showed girls in Istanbul
This month, a Turkish broadcaster released images that it said showed the British girls boarding a bus in Istanbul after they arrived from London.

They are thought to have crossed the Turkish border into Syria within days.

A trip to Gaziantep would have been long: The border town is more than 525 miles to the southeast of Istanbul.

Authorities have said they have no reason to believe the girls are still in Turkey and believe they have crossed into Syria, parts of which have been taken over by Islamist terror group ISIS.

The girls' parents have publicly begged for them to come home.

Days before they left for Turkey, at least one of the girls allegedly contacted a young woman, Aqsa Mahmood, who left her home in Scotland to travel to Syria in 2013 and is accused of trying to recruit others via social media.

She has posted tips for girls and young women wanting to travel to Syria to marry jihadis, as she did. Her blog also has links to advice posted by another jihad supporter, which recommends that those traveling to Syria seek to pack the essentials but not too much, since they may need to move often and at short notice, while remaining inconspicuous.