Baby of teen who left United Kingdom to join ISIS dies

Britain stripped Shamima Begum of her citizenship last month despite her wishes to return to the country. – AFP file

Begum traveled to Syria as a schoolgirl, aged just 15, from her home in London to join the so-called caliphate.

Shamima Begum was left in a detention camp in Syria where her baby died, the third of the 19-year-old's children to die since she travelled to Syria in 2015.

Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer representing Begum's family, confirmed the baby's death on Twitter.

The conflicting reports of the baby's well-being follow a plea from Begum's London-based family to United Kingdom home secretary Sajid Javid to assist them in bringing the baby back to the United Kingdom based on his rights as a British citizen.

"The Government will continue to do whatever we can to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and travelling to unsafe conflict zones".

In earlier interviews, Begum said that while she did not agree with everything the terror group had done, she has "no regrets" about joining ISIS and suggested that air strikes against the terror group in Syria somehow "justified" the Manchester Arena terror attack.

Her case has highlighted a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether to allow jihadists and IS sympathisers home to face prosecution or bar them from entry.

"No dignified self-governing state should abandon responsibility for its own citizens in this way, trying to dump them on to poorer countries with failed security arrangements", he told The Observer.




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

Mr Javid, when asked whether there was any plan for Ms Begum's son, had previously told the Commons Home Affairs Committee it would be "incredibly difficult" for the Government to facilitate the return of a child from Syria.

Upon hearing the news, UK Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott slammed Sajid Javid for behaving "shamefully", saying that he was responsible for the boy's death.

The baby, however, retained his citizenship and could have been allowed into the UK. Advocates for Begum say it is unjust to rescind her citizenship rather than bring her home and let her face trial.

Found in a refugee camp in February, an unrepentant Begum sparked a debate in Britain and other European capitals as to whether a teenager with a jihadist fighter's child should be left in a war zone to fend for herself.

If the mother & baby had been brought home, the mother Shamima Begum would have faced British justice, but the baby might have lived.

Prior to the child's death, Ms Begum's sister, Renu, wrote to Mr Javid on behalf of the family challenging the decision to revoke her citizenship.

Begum told ITV that it was "kind of heartbreaking to read" a copy of the letter, calling the move "hard to swallow" and "a bit unjust on me and my son".

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