Shamima Begum may be welcomed back to the UK after first ISIS bride is allowed to return to Britain, fears war hero | The Sun

ISIS bride Shamima Begum could now be free to return back to the UK following the repatriation of a Brit woman and her son from a Syrian camp, a war hero has claimed.

British Army veteran Alan Duncan, who fought against the Islamic State in Syria, claimed ISIS members were being treated "as if they were returning from a package holiday".

He was speaking following the news on Thursday that a British woman and her son who had gone to Syria to join the terror group had been brought back to the UK.

The unnamed woman was allegedly trafficked into the Middle-Eastern country while she was still a child by an older relative for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

They are officially the first Brits to be allowed to return from ISIS since the war against the group ended.

The move could potentially open the door for other British-born ISIS members, such as Shamima Begum, to come back to the UK.

Begum was 15 when she, along with two other schoolgirls, ran away from her home in east London to join the Islamic State.

In 2019, the British government removed her citizenship.

Last September, she gave an interview in which she claimed she had been trafficked to Syria.

Ditching the black burqa for skinny jeans, sunglasses and a baseball cap, she insisted she should be allowed to come home.

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News of the decision to allow a former "ISIS bride" and her son to fly the UK has taken many by surprise, including those with insight into Begum's case.

But speaking to The Sun Online, Alan Duncan branded the move "an insult" to the victims of ISIS.

"Why are former ISIS jihadis returning to the UK like they were away on a package holiday?" he said. "They're not being held to account."

Duncan joined the armed forces straight out of school and served with the Queen's Own Highlanders and Royal Irish Regiment, seeing action in both the Gulf War and Northern Ireland.

He signed up as a volunteer with the Kurdish Permergas to fight ISIS, and has been out to Syria multiple times, speaking out in support of the Yazidi minority, who suffered particularly brutal treatment at the hands of the jihadi group.

"Why are ISIS now being treated as the victims, when every single ISIS female was involved in the slavery of Yazidi women and children, either directly or indirectly?" he said.

"This opens a path for Shamima Begum to return to the UK, I'd put my bottom dollar on it."

It comes as reports claim a Canadian double agent trafficked Begum, now 23, into Syria over the Turkish border.

But Duncan branded the news a "smokescreen" to distract from the true story.

"Every single Western ISIS member was smuggled from Turkey to Syria," he said. "It doesn't matter who took Begum across, it's a smokescreen. A distraction.

"The fact of the matter is she went across freely with her friends. This Canadian man likely never even spoke to Begum. He was just the middleman who picked her up."

He slammed the repatriation of Jihadis as "sending out a crazy signal to future Jihadists, not just ISIS, but Al Qaeda, Hamas, or Hezbollah.

"Why are we trying to drip-feed the narrative that these people are victims? I'm disgusted. It's an insult to every single victim of ISIS."

He also poured scorn on Begum's claims that she was "under threat" in the camps in Syria, many of which Duncan has visited personally.

"Trust me, if they want you dead in those camps, you'd be dead that night," he said.

In November, Begum's next round of appeals against losing her British citizenship will take place.

Last year, her appeal that she had been left stateless failed, with the courts finding that she was also a citizen of Bangladesh.

"She will now likely win her appeal coming up next month," Duncan added. "This isn't just about Begum, it's about all the ISIS brides. The government is slowly caving in."

He said the process of capitulation had begun with ISIS bride Samia Hussein, the west London jihadi who travelled to Syria to join the death cult in 2015.

Hussein, who once sickenly branded the child victims of the Manchester bombing "just victims of war," was arrested when she returned to the UK in 2020.

Last year, it was revealed the ISIS bride had been given a £500k house and a new arm on the NHS after the limb was ripped off in a coalition airstrike.

But she has never been officially charged with a crime.

"Samia Hussein was a stepping stone," Duncan said. "Why are we not pushing the government to arrest her? She was the first ISIS fighter allowed to return home."

As many as 60 Brits, more than half of them children, are believed to be held in squalid Sydian detention camps set up for the families of captured or killed ISIS fighters.

Last year, Human Rights Watch estimated that 43,000 foreign nationals linked to ISIS were being held in grim conditions without any form of trial.

Most of them were captured by Kurdish Syrian forces in the final days of the civil war in 2019.

NGO Reprieve welcomed the move to bring back the ISIS member, saying the young woman was "a victim of trafficking, taken to Syria by a male relative when she was a young girl," and that "she and her child have suffered extreme trauma".

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Jonathan Hargreaves, the UK Special Representative for Syria, said on Twitter: "UK officials have facilitated the repatriation of two British nationals from Syria.

"In line with longstanding policy, we consider each request for consular assistance in Syria on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant considerations including national security."

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