1. In February, three teenage girls left their homes and families in London to travel to Syria and join ISIS.
Images of Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, were captured on CCTV at London’s Gatwick airport Feb. 18, before the girls boarded a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, Metropolitan Police said. They were later seen leaving a Turkish bus stop, likely en route to the Syrian border and ISIS-controlled territory.
3. Days before the girls’ departure, a Twitter account appearing to belong to 15-year-old Shamima Begum tweeted to an account associated with a female ISIS member known online as Umm Layth.
4. Umm Layth is the name used online by Aqsa Mahmood, a 20-year-old woman who ran away from her home in Glasgow in November 2013 to join ISIS and marry a militant.
5. Mahmood used her account (which has since been deleted) to tweet about her willingness to help women who wished to leave their homes and travel to ISIS-controlled territory.
6. Mahmood’s page indicates that she followed Begum’s Twitter account after seeing the girl’s tweet, possibly to message her tips about her journey to Syria.
8. These accounts actively encourage interested parties to reach out to them using messaging apps like Kik and SureSpot for advice on how to “make hijrah,” or migrate, to the “Islamic State.”
11. In addition to offering one-on-one advice, these accounts also continually tweet reasons why women should leave their countries and join the militant group.
Muhajirats: “Immigrants,” used by ISIS supporters to describe the people who have left their countries and travelled to Syria.
16. In addition to encouragement, ISIS members post provocative, somewhat taunting, messages asking their followers why they haven’t joined the group yet.
18. Or post examples of others who have made the journey as “inspiration.”
20. Accounts claiming to belong to ISIS fighters also applaud the women who have joined the group.
21. One of the much-touted selling points of living in ISIS-controlled territory, according to these accounts, is its diverse membership.
23. These outreach methods appear to be effective. An account of a woman who claimed to have arrived in Syria in November mentioned her excitement at meeting one of the “Akhawhat,” or sisters, from Twitter upon her arrival.
31. She has no plans to return.
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