Shamima Begum – the east London schoolgirl who left Britain for Syria to live under ISIS when she was 15 – has given birth, her family said they have been told.
The family lawyer, Mohammed Tasnime Akunjee, released a statement earlier today saying Ms Begum and her baby boy are believed to be in “good health”.
Shamima was located last week in a Syrian refugee camp by a reporter from The Times, who published an interview in which she said she was due to give birth “any day” and wanted to return home her baby.
She also said she had two children who had died in Syria.
Mr Akunjee told Radio 4’s The World This Weekend that Shamima’s family were told about the birth in a phone call from a translator at the refugee camp.
He said: “They are obviously very happy and joyous that Shamima has successfully given birth and that she’s healthy.
But the lawyer added that after the death of Shamima’s other two children, the family were “very concerned” about the newborn baby’s health and wanted both mother and child to return to Britain.
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Mr Akunjee insisted that the baby was “no threat” and that legally Ms Begum was allowed to return home as a British citizen.
Culture Minister Jeremy Wright said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme that the baby’s nationality was “not straightforward”.
The cabinet minister also said the main priority was ascertaining the health of Shamima and her baby.
He added: “But in the end she will have to answer for her actions. So I think it is right that if she’s able to come back to the UK that she does so, but if she does so she will do it on the understanding that we can hold her to account for her behaviour thus far.”
The debate about whether Shamima should be allowed back to the UK continues, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid stating in the Sunday Times that he would “not hesitate” to stop the return of Britons who travelled to join ISIS.
He added: “The difficult challenge we now face is what we should do about those who are still seeking to return.”
Shamima and two other schoolgirls, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, from Bethnal Green, east London, left for Syria to join ISIS in February 2015.
She told The Times that Kadiza was killed after a house was bombed, but the fate of Amira is still unknown.
In the interview with The Times, Shamima said she had escaped from Baghuz, the so-called Islamic State group’s last stronghold in eastern Syria, two weeks ago, but her husband – a Dutch convert to Islam – surrendered to a group of Syrian fighters as they left.