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. Currently, at least 30 British children are being held with their mothers in camps in northern Syria, after being detained as they fled the shattering Isis caliphate.
Debates on the fate of children born to British jihadis came to spotlight earlier this year after the death of Bethnal Green Shamima Begum's son. After joining the Daaesh in 2015, Begum had been found pregnant when she was interviewed at the Al-Roj camp in northern Syria and 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 shortly after Begum was stripped off her 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.
"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."