A British Muslim who took her five young children to join ISIS in Syria is now begging the British government to return her to Manchester, England, while her husband continues his jihad. Foreign Office officials confirmed that the government was aware of her pleas, and is working with the Turkish police force to facilitate her return.
Shukee Begum, a British national of Bangladeshi origin has been filmed by members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) asking for passage back to the UK. In a video handed to the Sunday Times, she claims to have been in Syria for 10 months, having traveled to the country via Turkey in order to bring back her husband who had defected four months earlier.
She says she does not like Daesh (ISIS) as they are “un-Islamic.” With coalition airstrikes now intensifying against ISIS, she pleads to be allowed back to Manchester, saying that she fears for the life of her young children.
Begum is understood to have contacted a group which has been assisting ISIS members who wish to defect. She told them that she wanted their help in reaching Gaziantep, a border city in south-eastern Turkey. When her husband left to fight in Aleppo, she and her children fled to Azaz, close to the Turkish border, where she was handed over to the FSA.
“At 5am she and her five children, all dressed in burqas, joined the two women and the man who brought them out from al-Bab to the city of Azaz in a taxi,” an FSA source said. During her stay with the fighters she handed over the names and contact details of four other women who wished to escape.
In Aziz the group tried to contact the British consulate in Turkey via a third party to alert them to Begum’s wishes, “However, we heard nothing back from them,” the source said. “The consulate has ignored her and us on account of her being Bangladeshi.”
The group then attempted to smuggle her into Turkey via illegal crossings at Kilis and Afrin, but were unable to do so.
“The Turkish army is strictly observing these border points and they were unable to smuggle her out . . . eventually, after 17 days, they handed her over to another branch of the FSA, which also has better finances to help her,” the source said. “They promised to help her reunite with her family.”
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We can confirm a British national and her children have been reported missing in Turkey. We have been supporting the family in the UK alongside the police. All relevant information has been shared with the Turkish authorities and we continue to work closely with them on this case.”
Robert Spencer, founder of Jihad Watch commented: “Shukee Begum and others like her left Britain in order to join an entity that considers itself to be at war with Britain and has vowed to destroy it. To allow such people back into the country is suicidal. And that is exactly what Britain appears to be.”