Shamima Begum


CHILDREN of British Daesh (Islamic State) members in Syria will not be allowed to return to the UK, the government has ruled.

The decision was made by Sajid Javid in one of his final acts as home secretary.

Debates on the fate of children born to British jihadis came to the fore earlier this year after the death of Shamima Begum’s son.

Begum, 19, was one of the three schoolgirls who left Bethnal Green in east London to join the Daesh in 2015. She resurfaced earlier this year at a Syrian refugee camp.

Begum was heavily pregnant when she was interviewed at the Al-Roj camp in northern Syria on February 13 this year. She had expressed a desire to return to the UK, saying she wanted a better life for her unborn child.

The baby, named Jarrah, was born three days later, but died of pneumonia on March 8, shortly after Begum was stripped of her British citizenship.

Kurdish authorities have said the decision was a “big mistake” as it risked leaving children vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.

“If these children are not returned to their country, rehabilitated and reintegrated into their communities, they will all become future terrorists,” Abdulkarim Omar, foreign affairs chief for the autonomous administration that controls the camps, told The Independent.

“These children were brought up in a terrorist environment and imbued with the terrorist ideology of Isis, especially children aged over eight years. Staying in the radical camp environment means creating a new generation of terrorists that will pose a threat to us and to the entire international community,” he added.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “The Government is aware that there are British national minors in Internally Displaced Persons camps in Syria who, because of their age, are innocent victims of the conflict.

“We look at every single case where we are asked for consular assistance, but this process is far from straightforward. We are the second biggest bilateral donors to those in the camps.

“But we must be clear that there are things we cannot do because we do not have a consular presence within Syria. The Foreign Secretary also stated that he will not jeopardise the lives of civil servants.”