Shamima Begum, the British teenager who fled the UK to join ISIS in 2015, but now wants to return home, has given birth.
According to a report from Sky News on Sunday, 19-year-old Begum — who fled ISIS two weeks ago and is currently living in the al-Hawl Syrian refugee camp in northeast Syria — gave birth to a baby boy. It is unclear exactly when the child was born.
“We the family of Shamima Begum have been informed that Shamima has given birth to her child, we understand that both she and the baby are in good health,” Tasnime Akunjee, the Begum family’s lawyer said in a statement.
“As yet we have not had direct contact with Shamima, we are hoping to establish communications with her soon so that we can verify the above.”
Begum married a young Dutch IS fighter called Yago Riedijk, and previously had two children during her time with the so-called caliphate. Both other children died due to illness.
She has asked “not to be separated from the infant if she returns to Britain,” according to Sky’s report.
The birth of Begum’s child comes amid a growing row over her possible return to the UK. In an interview with the Times of London earlier in the week, Begum said she wants to return home in order to protect her (at the time of the interview) unborn child and because she believed ISIS’s floundering self-styled caliphate “might not survive after all.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said that Begum may not be allowed to return to the UK, but that if she does return, she may be put on trial.
However, British Justice Secretary David Gauke contradicted Javid’s view on Saturday, saying that the UK may be forced to accept Begum’s return. “We can’t make people stateless,” he said in an interview with Sky News.
Begum fled her home in Bethnal Green, London in 2015 with two friends, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana. Sultana is believed to have been killed in an airstrike in Raqqa, Syria in 2016, while Abase’s whereabouts is currently unknown.