LONDON — The 19-year-old woman who left Britain to join the Islamic State group and who recently spoke out about wanting to return home has given birth to a boy in a refugee camp in Syria.
The woman, Shamima Begum, had recently fled the last remaining village held by the terrorist group in Syria.
In a televised interview with Sky News on Sunday, Begum asked to be allowed to return to Britain. As another woman cradled her newborn, Begum also defended her actions in Syria, saying she had only taken care of her husband and children and had never made propaganda for the Islamic State group or encouraged others to travel to Syria.
“I think a lot of people should have, like, sympathy toward me for everything I’ve been through,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left. And I just was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child, they let me come back. Because I can’t live in this camp forever. It’s not really possible.”
She also said she had no regrets about joining the Islamic State group and that she had been “attracted by the propaganda videos.”
Begum’s comments set off a fierce debate in Britain about the country’s obligations to a woman who was lured as a 15-year-old student to marry into the Islamic State. She was one of three schoolgirls, including Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, from Bethnal Green Academy in East London who left Britain to travel to Syria in February 2015.
British officials had said soon after they traveled to Syria that the women would be allowed to return home without facing charges because there was no evidence they had committed terrorism offenses. But they held to a harder line this past week, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid saying that he would not hesitate to prevent the return of those who supported terrorist groups abroad.
Ben Wallace, Britain’s security minister, said this past week that British officials would not help rescue Begum because it was too dangerous to provide consular services in Syria.