A pregnant British schoolgirl who joined Islamic State in Syria says she does not regret fleeing the UK – but wants to come home so her baby can be looked after.
The girl, who says she is Shamima Begum, has revealed she is going to give birth to her baby “any day now”, having married a young Dutch IS fighter called Yago Riedijk three weeks after she arrived in Syria four years ago.
The 19-year-old fled the UK with two other friends, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, from Bethnal Green in 2015, and said she has been living “a normal life” in the caliphate.
“Every now and again there are bombs and that, but just a normal life,” she told The Times’ Anthony Loyd from the al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria where she is among 39,000 others who have fled fighting in the last IS bastion of Baghuz.
About 20,000 civilians, mostly IS families, were evacuated before the town of Baghuz, near the Iraqi border, came under siege last week by the coalition forces who have said it is the final “decisive” battle against IS.
Speaking confidently and seemingly without any fear for her situation, Begum said she had never seen an execution during her time with IS, “but I saw a beheaded head in the bin”.
“It didn’t faze me at all,” she added.
Begum revealed that she has already given birth to two children, but they both died so she is now “overprotective” of her unborn baby.
Talking about losing her first two children, she said: “It came as a shock out of nowhere and was so hard.
“I am scared this baby is going to get sick in this camp, that’s why I want to get back to Britain, because I know my baby will be looked after.”
She said she had spoken to her mother recently.
“I said I wanted to leave and that I need help, that I needed her to support me if I came back to the UK,” she added.
Begum confirmed that one of the friends who fled with her, Sultana, was killed after her house in Raqqa was bombed.
Sultana was believed to have been killed in the then IS-stronghold in May 2016, but it has never been confirmed.
Begum said: “Her house was bombed. Underground, there was secret stuff going on and a spy had figured out that something was going on and other people got killed as well.
“At first I was in denial. I thought if we died we’d die together. But now I have to think about my baby.”
Despite her friend and her two children dying, and seeing the oppressive nature of IS, Begum said she does not regret joining the terror group.
However, she does not believe it can now survive.
“I don’t regret it [joining the caliphate], but when I saw underground oppression. It really hit me.
“There is so much oppression going on, I believe they don’t deserve victory.
“You have to remember these people believe that you kill the non-Muslims but you treat the Muslims good.
“My husband, while he was in prison, he told me ‘people were being tortured so badly that they were just going to admit to being a spy so they could kill me’.
She added that her husband, Daulat, “has actually killed Muslims”, and she has mixed feelings about him.
© Sky News 2019