Former 'Islamic State matchmaker' Tooba Gondal deported from Turkey to France as part of repatriation attempt
A former London university student accused of being an Islamic State recruiter has been deported from Turkey to France, alongside her two children, as part of an attempt by the Ankara government to repatriate foreigners who joined the terror group.
Tooba Gondal, who lived in Walthamstow before travelling to Syria in 2015, is among four former IS members flown to Paris this morning with their seven children.
Gondal is a French citizen but had permanent British residence until the Home Office issued an exclusion order in 2017.
The former Goldsmith’s University student is alleged to have helped to recruit Shamima Begum into IS, the east London schoolgirl who travelled to Syria with two classmates in 2015.
In an interview with ITV News conducted in a Syrian refugee camp in September, Gondal claimed she had been radicalised over Twitter and never pledged allegiance to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Gondal managed to escape from the Ain Issa camp in October, walking for several miles alongside hundreds of other former IS women and children, before being held by Syrian rebels.
In voice-note messages shared with ITV News from a ‘safe house’ she said: “I would like my situation to be in the news so more people know that I’m here and the government of Turkey can help me get out of here, get out from these, you know, this rebel group.”
Then in further, panicked messages she said she was about to be moved by armed men to an unknown location: “Vans are ready and I don’t know where they’re taking us and I don’t know whats going to happen” she said.
She was taken into Turkish custody.
Gondal was brought to Paris this morning and held by police shortly after her arrival - her children are expected to be placed in foster care.
Turkey is attempting to deport European and American citizens in its custody who are suspected of being members of IS, but hundreds more remain in Kurdish custody and some European governments have refused to take those citizens back.