An east London schoolgirl who left the UK in 2015 to join Islamic State (ISIS), Shamima Begum has begged the British authorities to bring her home as she is nine months pregnant.
The nineteen years old, who is in a refugee camp in Syria, said has no regrets about joining the terrorist group.
Begum made this known to the Times from the al-Hawl refugee camp in north-eastern Syria.
The young lady said she fled the jihadists’ last remaining enclave in Baghuz, eastern Syria, as she was tired of life on a battlefield and feared for her unborn child after her two other children died.
She said, “I was weak. I could not endure the suffering and hardship that staying on the battlefield involved. But I was also frightened that the child I am about to give birth to would die like my other children if I stayed on. So I fled the caliphate. Now all I want to do is come home to Britain.”
She and two of her fellow Bethnal Green academy pupils, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, made headlines when they flew from Gatwick to Turkey in February 2015, then entered Syria.
Begum and Abase were both 15, while Sultana was 16. They had told their parents they were simply going out for the day.
Concise News understands the Begum family believe the woman identified in the Syrian camp is Shamima.
Begum told the Times she initially settled in Raqqa where she married a Dutch convert after three weeks.
She said life there alternated between normality and atrocity, and added that the sight of a “beheaded head” in a bin had not fazed her.
Begum said, “Mostly it was a normal life in Raqqa, every now and then bombing and stuff. But when I saw my first severed head in a bin it didn’t faze me at all. It was from a captured fighter seized on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam.”
She said Sultana and Abase, along with another young woman, Sharmeena Begum, also from Bethnal Green – who travelled to Syria two months before the trio and is not a relative of Begum’s – had also married foreign Isis fighters.
Sultana was reported to have died in 2016 in an airstrike on Raqqa, and Begum confirmed this in the interview.
She gave a conflicting account of the so-called caliphate. “There was so much oppression and corruption that I don’t think they deserved victory,” she said. However, she added: “I don’t regret coming here.”
Begum said her family had moved down the Euphrates valley as Isis retreated, eventually ending up in its final stronghold of Baghuz.
But after the deaths of her one-year-old daughter and three-month-old son in recent months from illness and malnutrition, she decided to flee.
She left Baghuz two weeks ago along a three-mile-long corridor east of Baghuz. Her husband surrendered to a group of Syrian fighters allied to the Syrian Democratic Forces and she has not seen him since, according to the Times.
She said Sharmeena Begum and Abase were believed to have remained in Isis’s final stronghold. “I heard from other women only two weeks ago that the two were still alive in Baghuz,” Shamima Begum said. “But with all the bombing, I am not sure whether they have survived.
“They were strong … I respect their decision. They urged patience and endurance in the caliphate and chose to stay behind in Baghuz. They would be ashamed of me if they survived the bombing and battle to learn that I had left.”
She added: “But I just want to come home to have my child. That’s all I want right now. I’ll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child.”