The baby son of Shamima Begum, the teenager who fled the UK to join the Islamic State in Syria, may have died.
According to Begum’s family lawyer, the family have received ‘strong but as yet unconfirmed reports’ that the baby has passed away.
Tasnime Akunjee sent a tweet out earlier today (March 8) which suggested the baby – who was a British citizen – could have died in Syria.
We have strong but as yet unconfirmed reports that Shamima Begums son has died . He was a British Citizen.
— Mohammed T Akunjee (@MohammedAkunjee) March 8, 2019
In 2015, Begum left her home in Bethnal Green to join Islamic State in Syria, alongside two school friends. She was 15 years old at the time.
Now 19, Begum had been residing at al-Hawl refugee camp in north-eastern Syria, and had previously been hoping to return to the UK.
However, the Telegraph reports the mother and son had fled the camp earlier this month after the family’s lawyer said they were ‘threatened’.
The teenager also had her British citizenship revoked by the British government last month, leaving the teenager’s family ‘disappointed’ when they were informed through a letter from the Home Office.
According to ITV News, who obtained the letter, it reads as follows:
Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship.
In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary’s decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made.
Mr Akunjee released the following statement once Begum’s citizenship was revoked:
Family are very disappointed with the Home Office’s intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship.
We are considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision.
Shamima Begum's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said: "Family are very disappointed with the Home Office's intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship.
"We are considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision."
— Ross Kempsell (@rosskempsell) February 19, 2019
The 19-year-old gave birth to her newborn baby just days after a journalist tracked her down at a refugee camp, and it was recently reported the mother and baby had moved to another camp nearer to the Iraqi border.
The family’s lawyer said at the time he understood Begum had been moved from the initial refugee camp due to safety concerns, after her and her newborn baby ‘had been threatened by others’ at the camp.
The 19-year-old has since said she wished she had kept a low profile, the Telegraph reports.
Tasnime Akunjee – the lawyer representing the Begum family – says the UK has a 'moral duty' to bring Shamima's child back to safety. pic.twitter.com/8MclROJreY
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) February 18, 2019
The British public have been left divided over Begum’s story. Some have been sympathetic to her on account of her young age at the time she left for Syria, arguing she’s a victim of grooming.
However, others have been left appalled by her apparent lack of remorse, having described herself as being ‘okay’ with the knowledge that Islamic State had carried out beheadings.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677