IS teen's baby son dies in Syria


Beirut (AFP)

The baby son of Shamima Begum, a British-born teenager who left London to join the Islamic State group, has died in Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said Friday.

SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali confirmed the death to AFP but declined to specify how or when it happened. He had previously denied the baby had died in a Twitter post that has since been deleted.

Begum, 19, gave birth last month in a refugee camp in northeast Syria.

She travelled from east London to Syria in 2015 and said she had previously given birth to two other children. They are said to have also died, apparently from illness and malnutrition.

Britain stripped Begum of her citizenship last month despite her wishes to return to the country, although the government hinted her newborn son could be treated differently.

Her case has highlighted a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether to allow jihadists and IS sympathisers home to face prosecution or bar them from entry.

A mass exodus from the jihadists' last redoubt in eastern Syria has sparked a humanitarian emergency, as the SDF leads an offensive to smash the last remnants of the IS "caliphate".

The International Rescue Committee on Friday said that 12,000 women and children had arrived at the Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp since Wednesday.

Since December at least 100 people have died en route to the camp or shortly after arriving, mostly children under five, the IRC said.