Shamima Begum fears she will be killed in Syrian refugee camp
Shamima Begum, the former London schoolgirl who left the UK to join ISIS as a 15-year-old, has said she is scared she will die if she stays in a refugee camp in northern Syria.
Ms Begum, now 20, began a legal challenge this week over a UK government decision to strip her of her British citizenship.
She is currently staying in the Al Roj camp 14.5 kilometres from the Turkish border in an area designated as a “safe zone” by Turkey.
Russia and Turkey made an agreement earlier this week that would see Russian military police and Syrian border guards “facilitate the removal” of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from within 30 kilometres of the border, including from Al Roj camp. It followed a Turkish offensive into northern Syria earlier this month.
“I am scared, really scared,” Ms Begum told The Times newspaper. “I am afraid I could die here. The camp is very tense. We don’t know what is going on. When the Turkish offensive began many of the women here waited to take advantage of it to hurt those who had left Isis.”
Authorities in Al Roj say there have already been attempts by ISIS members to leave the camp and attacks against guards and women they deem to be disloyal to the terror group have increased since the Turkish invasion began.
“We saw the offensive on TV. It caused complete shock throughout the whole camp as all the possibilities went through our minds,” Ms Begum told the newspaper.
“There is the fear that if the Kurds leave there could be chaos here, anarchy, and that our lives would be at risk from dangerous people in this camp. There are some psychotic women in here.”
Around 800 ISIS affiliates being held at the Kurdish-controlled Ain Issa camp in northern Syria escaped when the Turkish operation began.
Ms Begum’s preliminary hearing in her appeal against the loss of her UK citizenship in a specialist court concluded on Friday, although the outcome is not expected to bring immediate change to her status.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission is hearing the challenge and will deal with the question of whether depriving her of British citizenship rendered her stateless and was therefore unlawful.
Mr Javid revoked her citizenship amid claims that she had Bangladeshi citizenship. Ms Begum’s parents are from Bangladesh.
However, Bangladesh’s foreign minister has said she is not a Bangladeshi citizen.
Source: The National