Free Press Journal

UK women keen to return home from Syria


London: A British woman who fled to Syria with her five children to persuade her jihadist husband is now desperate to return to the UK. Shukee Begum from Manchester left last year and made her way into Syria via Turkey. The woman of Somali origin, is reportedly married to an Islamic State fighter and claims she only travelled to IS’ self-declared capital of Raqqa, with the intention of persuading her husband, Muftah el-Deen, a jihadist and also a British national, to return home with her.

Her husband is believed to have died in conflict and Begum is now appealing for help to return home to safety with her three daughters and two sons, who are aged between one and 12. In a video obtained by the Sunday Times, Begum said she has spent the past 10 months based in the town of al-Bab in northern Syria, where she taught English to the children of foreign fighters.

In the recording, she describes her plight, adding that her house being bombed by the US-led coalition was the final straw, prompting her decision to escape. She appears to regret her decision to flee the UK and place her children in the IS stronghold and now denounces the militant terror group describing it as ‘not Islamic’.

Begum, escaped from Syria with the help of a group which aids defecting IS members. The family was handed over to the Free Syrian Army, but they have been unable to make it across the border into Turkey.

The family is now believed to be stranded in Turkey. The matter of returning foreign fighters and their families remains a contentious issue, with those opposed to their repatriation highlighting the risk to security and calling for the stripping of citizenship for anyone who joins the terrorist group.