Disappearance of Zahra and Salma Halane in 2014 led to counter-terror investigation.

Twins from Manchester who sparked a counter-terrorism investigation after they fled to Syria at the age of 16 have said they are being detained in a high-security detention centre after trying to escape a refugee camp.

Zahra and Salma Halane, 22, disappeared from the family home in Chorlton, south Manchester, in 2014 and flew out to Turkey before they crossed the border into the war-torn country.

It led the police’s north-west counter-terrorism unit to investigate their reason for travel and whether they were assisted.

The Muslim sisters, said to be “deeply religious”, ignored their Somalian family’s pleas for them to come home and told them they had no intention of returning.

It is thought they went on to marry fighters from Islamic State and were later widowed, while their elder brother Ahmed Halane is suspected of having links to various terrorism groups.

On Monday, the sisters told ITV News they wanted to be repatriated to Denmark, the country of their birth.

They had fled from Isis territory last year, they said, and spent the following 16 months at a refugee camp with Zahra’s young son but were recently arrested by Kurdish security services after trying to escape the camp.

Salma said: “I had never thought of leaving. Things were good. We had WHO [the World Health Organization] checking me and my sister but the situation became very bad.

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