International

Baby of ‘British IS bride’ dead

The British government drew fresh criticism on Saturday over its decision to revoke citizenship from a London teenager who joined the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, after her baby died in a refugee camp.

Shamima Begum, 19, had asked to return home after giving birth to her son Jarrah last month in the camp in northeastern Syria, but London refused.

Died due to pneumonia

A spokesman for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, Mustefa Bali, said the baby had died, without giving further details. The BBC said he had pneumonia, citing a medical certificate.

Ms. 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.

Ms. Begum told them she wanted to return home to save her baby, saying that her two older children had died, apparently from illness and malnutrition.

“I don’t want to lose this baby as well and this is really not a place to raise children, this camp,” she told the BBC at the time.

Opposition Labour MP Diane Abbott said the death of the baby was “a stain on the conscience of this government”.

A British government spokesman said: “The death of any child is tragic and deeply distressing for the family.”

But he added that Britons had been warned since 2011 not to travel to Syria because of the conflict there.

“The government will continue to do whatever we can to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and travelling to dangerous conflict zones,” he said.

‘Morally reprehensible’

Ms. Abbott said: “To leave a vulnerable young woman and an innocent child in a refugee camp, where we know infant mortality to be high, is morally reprehensible.”

Aid group Save the Children said the baby’s death was “incredibly sad” and urged Britain and other countries to “take responsibility” for their citizens in Syria.

Source: thehindu.com

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