Baby of British ISIS Bride Is Declared Dead in Syria

Baby of British ISIS Bride Is Declared Dead in Syria
Shamima Begum is interviewed by Sky News in northern Syria on Feb. 17, 2019. (Reuters)

BAGHOUZ, Syria—The newborn son of U.K.-born teenager Shamima Begum, who left her London home to join IS in Syria, has died in a refugee camp on March 8, 2019.

The infant died at a camp in North Syria according to Syrian Democratic Forces Spokesman Mustafa Bali. No further details have been provided.

In a day of conflicting reports about the baby’s fate, Lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said in a Twitter post he had “strong but as yet unconfirmed reports that Shamima Begum’s son has died. He was a British citizen.” Akunjee also would not provide further details.

Bali created some confusion by momentarily posting to Twitter reports of the baby’s death were “fake” and the child is “alive and healthy.” He later deleted the post without explaining, and shortly after confirmed the baby’s death.

The British government neither confirmed nor denied reports of the baby’s death.

Begum was 15 when she and two friends left London to marry IS fighters in Syria back in 2015, when the group’s online recruitment program lured many impressionable young people to its self-proclaimed caliphate.

News of Begum, now 19, recently surfaced from a refugee camp where she gave birth in February.

Begum told journalists she wanted to raise her son in Britain but the UK government revoked her citizenship. Begum told reporters she previously lost two other children to malnutrition and disease.

Her Dutch jihadi husband, Yago Riedijk, who is in a Kurdish-run detention center last week said he wanted to return to the Netherlands with Begum and their son.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said in February Begum’s citizenship was revoked despite saying at the same time he would not make a decision that would render a person stateless.

Javid confirmed Begum’s son would be considered a British citizen but admitted it would be “incredibly difficult” to facilitate the return of a child from Syria.

Begum’s parents are from Bangladesh but her family says she is not a dual citizen. The family vows to challenge Javid’s decision.

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