UK official criticized after baby of IS teen dies in Syria

Adjust Comment Print

The newspaper report says the two women headed to Syria from London in 2013 after marrying into a six-man cell of ISIS recruits with close links to the filmed murders of western hostages by British Arab ISIS fighter Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed "Jihadi John" for his United Kingdom connection.

Shamima Begum, who had left London as a 15-year-old in 2015 to join the Islamic State group, had pleaded with British authorities before her baby was born to let her return to Britain to raise the child. She had left the United Kingdom when she was a teenager but pleaded to be allowed back so that her unborn baby could be taken care of.

Javid had previously said, "Children should not suffer, so if a parent does lose their British citizenship it does not affect the rights of their child".

The challenge faces other European countries as the final IS stronghold in Syria is on the brink of falling, giving its fighters and their often youthful spouses no place left to hide.

Recently, a woman named Shamima Begum had her United Kingdom citizenship revoked after she left Britain to become a jihadi bride.

The 19-year-old had controversially said she wanted to return to the United Kingdom after feeling to Syria at the age of 15.

The reports come after the death of the baby son of IS bride Shamima Begum, who was stripped of her United Kingdom citizenship by the Home Office after resurfacing in a Syria refugee camp.

The BBC said he had pneumonia, citing a medical certificate.

"Shamima knew when she made the decision to join Daesh that she was going to a country where there was no embassy, where there was no consular assistance".

Mr Hunt said the British boy's death was "an incredibly distressing and sad situation" but that it was too risky to dispatch officials to the war zone, adding that they are at a greater risk than the journalists who have interviewed her.

Senior British opposition figure Diane Abbott called the United Kingdom government's decision "callous and inhumane".

Phillip Lee, a former justice minister and member of May's party, said he had been deeply concerned by the decision.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Sadly there are probably many children, obviously perfectly innocent, who have been born in this war zone".

Begum's fate has sparked heated debate in Britain, which like many other countries is facing a dilemma over whether to allow jihadists and IS sympathisers home to face prosecution, or stop them from returning at all.

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has consistently advised against travel in Syria since April 2011", said the spokesperson, according to the Independent.

"It is possible the death of this baby boy and others could have been avoided", said the group's Syria response director, Sonia Khush.