Frenchman gets 3 years for helping girl try to join ISIL
A Frenchman, who helped a 14-year-old girl try to join Takfiri ISIL terrorists in Syria, has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Riad Ben Cheikh, a 41-year-old father of three, received the three-year sentence on Tuesday, with one year suspended, for helping the girl in the French city of Lyon by arranging her travel to join an ISIL recruiter in Syria.
Cheikh reportedly booked a hotel room for the girl, identified as Amelia, and paid her car trip to the airport to board a flight to the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Amelia was caught at the airport in February 2014 and then escaped. She had made Facebook contact with the recruiter dubbed Tony Toxiko, who convinced her to join and marry him in Syria, where she is believed to be now.
Last month, the US National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) said in its latest estimate that more than 20,000 individuals from around the world, including many Westerners, have traveled to Syria to join the ISIL and other extremist groups.
Foreign militants from over 90 countries, including at least 3,400 people from Western states and more than 150 Americans, have gone to Syria to join the terrorist groups there, the NCTC added.
Security officials in Europe fear that European citizens who have joined the terrorist groups in the Middle East will use their combat skills against their homeland upon returning home.
The ISIL terrorists currently control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have carried out heinous crimes in the two countries, including mass executions and beheadings of people.
Since 2011, when the militancy began in Syria, Western countries and their regional allies, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, have been giving financial, logistical and military support to the militant groups fighting to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Gradually, however, some of the regional and Western sponsors of the militants began to see the repercussions of their policies as the militants turned their guns against their sponsors.