ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – It has just been learned that the first British woman who was found guilty in the UK for traveling to Syria and joining the Islamic State was released months ago, leading London newspapers reported on Friday.
Tareena Shakil was 26 when she was given a six-year sentence in 2016 after supporting the jihadist group and bringing her 18-month-old son with her when she went to the Syrian city of Raqqa to become a member, wrote The Independent.
Her relatives told The Mirror that she has been living in the central English city of Birmingham under rules set by a parole board since being released last summer because she had served half of her sentence and given credit for time served for the remainder.
After Shakil’s father reported her and her son missing from the family home in October 2014, investigators found that, three months earlier, she had started sending out numerous posts on social media in support of the Islamic State, using the group’s flag as her Twitter profile picture.
"If people don’t like the current events in Sham [Syria] take to arms and not the keyboard," she wrote in a post.
“She had access to both firearms and the internet and she maintained contact with family members in the UK where she variously glorified Isis and spoke of the possibility of martyrdom and marrying an Isis fighter,” the Crown Prosecution Service said.
Shakil left Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the group's self-proclaimed caliphate, in January 2015 and was arrested at the Turkish border, at first claiming that she had traveled to Turkey on vacation before being kidnapped. Later, in a UK court, she admitted she had voluntarily gone to Raqqa but then returned after realizing she had made a mistake.
News of her release surfaced amid debate about whether another female Islamic State member named Shamima Begum should be brought back to the UK from Syria.
Begum, then age 15, made headlines in 2015 when she, along with two other female schoolmates, flew from London's Gatwick Airport to Turkey and then traveled into Syria.
Now nine months pregnant, she explained to the Times of London that she initially settled in Raqqa as well, but after years of hardship and the death of two young children from illness, she said, "Now all I want to do is come home to Britain."
She continued, in an interview conducted in the al-Hawl refugee camp in northeastern Syria, "There was so much oppression and corruption that I don’t think they [ISIS] deserved victory."
She also added, “I don’t regret coming here.”