Cause of death of Shamima Begum's son Jarrah is revealed


The baby of Shamima Begum, a British teenager who joined the Islamic State and has sought to return home even as she has defended the group's actions, has died in a detention camp in Syria, according to a spokesman for the group holding the woman. She said she had already had two other children who died in infancy from malnutrition and illness.

Begum's son was born on February 17, days after she was tracked down heavily-pregnant in a refugee camp in Syria.

The lawyer for Shamima Begum's family says there are "strong but as yet unconfirmed reports" that her baby son has died.

She accused Interior Minister Sajid Javid of revoking Begum's citizenship "to appease the right-wing press", adding that he had "failed this British child, and he has a lot to answer for".

This week a British baby died from pneumonia in a Syrian refugee camp.

Her family announced the boy's birth and said they believed he was "in good health". She claimed she was "brainwashed" by the group and wants to return home.

Javid said it would have been very hard to arrange but repeated visits by foreign journalists to the displaced people's camp suggest it's a relatively secure location in Syria.

Earlier this week, Begum's husband, former IS fighter Yago Riedijk - who is from the Netherlands - had expressed his desire to return to his homeland with his wife and son.

But the spokesperson added the UK Foreign Office "has consistently advised against travel to Syria" since 2011.

Blaming Javid for the baby's death, British journalist Ash Sarkar tweeted: "Whatever Shamima Begum may have done, her child was innocent and a British citizen".

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Before it was confirmed the baby had died, Mr Javid said he had "nothing but sympathy" for the children that had been "dragged" into the situation in Syria.

Begum is now being held in a refugee camp in Syria, and her child had been with her.

In an interview with the BBC after the birth of Jarrah, Ms Begum said she did not regret travelling to Syria - although she added that she did not agree with everything the IS group had done.

"My number one job is to do whatever I can to keep this country safe", Javid had said last month while announcing the revocation of citizenship.

The women's parents are originally from Pakistan, and the Home Office could pursue the argument that they are Pakistani nationals.

Shamima Begum was stripped of her citizenship last month but her child, a boy, was still considered a British national.

"I request to the British people, please forgive her".

The infant's father, a Dutch ISIS fighter who was captured and is being held in a nearby prison, was informed of the baby's death.

SDF spokesperson Mustefa Bali confirmed the death to AFP late on Friday but declined to specify how or when it happened.

The Red Crescent in Syria may also have been able to assist the British government in repatriating Jarrah to Britain.