UK repatriates British child from Syria

Rights groups estimate there is roughly 60 British children stranded in refugee camps in northeast Syria. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 16 September 2020

UK repatriates British child from Syria

  • The child was repatriated from a Syrian Democratic Forces camp in northeast Syria
  • Save the Children said last year that more than 60 British children were stranded in Syria

LONDON: Britain said on Wednesday it had repatriated a child from Syria, one of dozens of British children thought to be trapped in the war-torn country.
British officials have previously faced criticism for refusing to help nationals including children to return home after they or their parents were accused of joining Daesh.
“Pleased we have been able to bring home a British child from Syria,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter.
“Safely facilitating the return of orphans or unaccompanied British children, where possible, is the right thing to do.”
The foreign ministry declined to provide further details, citing reporting restrictions on cases involving minors.
Save the Children said in a report last year that more than 60 British children were stranded in northeast Syria.
The UK has taken a strict approach, stripping citizenship from some of those suspected of traveling to support the Daesh.
Among the most high profile cases is that of Shamima Begum who was 15 when she and two other schoolgirls from east London left to join the jihadist group in 2015.
She claims to have married a Dutch convert soon after arriving in Daesh-held territory who subsequently died.
Begum, now 20 and marooned in a refugee camp, was discovered nine months pregnant in another camp in February last year, and her newborn baby died soon after she gave birth.
Two of her other children also died under Daesh rule.
Britain annulled her UK citizenship on national security grounds after an outcry led by right-wing media but Begum has mounted a legal challenge of the decision.
The UK supreme court is set to decide on whether she can return to Britain to fight the case in court.

Related


Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Updated 04 December 2020

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

COTABATO, Philippines: Dozens of militants aligned with the Daesh group opened fire on a Philippine army detachment and burned a police patrol car in a southern town but withdrew after troops returned fire, officials said Friday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in Thursday night’s brief attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Piang town. Nevertheless it sparked panic among residents and rekindled fears of a repeat of a 2017 militant siege of southern Marawi city that lasted for five months before being quelled by government forces.
“We are on top of the situation. This is just an isolated case,” regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said in a statement.
Security officials gave differing statements on the motive of the 30 to 50 gunmen. Some said the militants targeted Datu Piang’s police chief over a feud but others speculated that the militants wanted to project that they are still a force to reckon with by attacking the army detachment in the center of the predominantly Muslim town.
Officials denied earlier reports that the militants managed to seize a police station and burn a Roman Catholic church.
When reinforcement troops in armored carriers arrived and opened fire, the militants fled toward a marshland, military officials said.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is one of a few small armed groups waging a separatist rural insurrection in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. The groups opposed a 2014 autonomy deal forged by the largest Muslim rebel group in the south with the Philippine government and have continued on and off attacks despite being weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism.
The armed groups include the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.