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British intelligence knew of Canada’s role in trafficking Shamima Begum to Syria

October 14, 2022 at 5:35 pm

A photograph of Shamima Begum in London, UK on 22 February 2015 [Laura Lean/WPA Pool/Getty Images]

British intelligence agencies were aware of their Canadian counterpart’s involvement in trafficking Shamima Begum and other Britons to Syria only days after it took place, sources have reportedly revealed.

According to the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail yesterday, two anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had informed the British intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, that one of its operatives – a double agent working for both the CSIS and Daesh – was responsible for smuggling Shamima Begum and two of her schoolgirl friends into Syria to join Daesh.

The information was passed onto the two British agencies within 48 hours of the operation taking place, making it likely that they knew of the teens’ whereabouts and situation before London’s Metropolitan police at Scotland Yard did.

Canadian intelligence’s role in the trafficking of British schoolgirls into Syria was first revealed in August by Richard Kerbaj, former security correspondent of The Sunday Times, in his book ‘The Secret History of the Five Eyes’.

READ: FBI rented Istanbul villa for Daesh suspects before alerting Turkish authorities, report reveals

Following the fleeing of Begum and her friends in 2015, the UK’s Metropolitan Police Service issued an urgent appeal asking anyone who had seen the teenagers after they went to Gatwick Airport. According to the book, Canada remained silent and convinced the UK to conceal the CSIS’s role after Turkish authorities – who arrested the Canadian spy asset and discovered material evidence-informed London of the truth.

The BBC also, at the time, revealed that it had obtained files proving that the agent shared Begum’s passport details with Canada and that he had smuggled other Britons to Syria to fight for Daesh or marry the group’s militants.

The revelation that the MI5 and MI6 knew of the schoolgirls’ situation and Canada’s role in their trafficking within such a short amount of time and prior to Turkiye’s intervention adds further controversy to the case, as it appears to confirm the involvement, or at least active awareness, of the three Western intelligence agencies in the provision of young Britons – and potentially other Westerners – to the terror group.

It is also expected to add to calls for an inquiry into what the British police and intelligence services knew about Canada’s activities.

READ: Canada’s alleged role in trafficking British children to Daesh prompts investigation