South Africans held in Syria went there to join Isis - Trac

During an interview with Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder and chairman at Gift of the Givers on Wednesday, it emerged that a number of South Africans are trapped in Syrian camps.

Sooliman said about 27 South African women and are children scattered across Syrian camps and the government is working on bringing them back to South Africa. This included the family of Dr Feroz Ganchi who is believed to have been killed in an airstrike in Syria.

Intelligence and terrorism expert Jasmine Opperman says the number of South Africans in Syria is still not confirmed.

However, she has confirmed that there are seven South African women in Syria who went there to become Jihadi brides and they are now held in these camps.

Read: No evidence that SA doctor killed in Syria was linked to al-Qaeda, lawyer says

My factual information indicates seven women and about 10 - 15 children. They were part of Isis and they are being held there now.

Jasmine Opperman, Director - Africa at Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (Trac)

The children ages vary between 5 and 15 years.

Jasmine Opperman, Director - Africa at Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (Trac)

Opperman says some of these women followed their husbands who went to Syria to join Isis, while others went voluntarily after being recruited by Isis.

But there also those who went to carry out humanitarian work and got caught up in the ideological battle, she explains.

Rather get these women back as soon as possible and get those poor kids into structured programs over the long term, otherwise one is breeding the future Jihadists.

Jasmine Opperman, Director - Africa at Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (Trac)

What is happening in these camps is that a group of Isis women that show no remorse, they are enforcing these Isis extremist ideologies on women who don't want to be part of it.

Jasmine Opperman, Director - Africa at Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (Trac)

My message to government is that get the Muslim communities involved. You need people who can fight Isis based on knowledge and understanding.

Jasmine Opperman, Director - Africa at Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (Trac)

To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : South Africans held in Syria went there to join Isis - Trac


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