Shamima Begum claims she fled UK to join ISIS in Syria as ‘she didn’t want to be left behind’ 

Shamima Begum claimed she joined the Islamic State because she didn’t want to be the ‘friend that was left behind’ in a documentary about her life in a Syrian refugee camp.

The former Isis child bride, 21, said she joined her Bethnal Green classmates, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, in fleeing the UK because she was ‘young and naive’ and wanted to help people in war-torn Syria.

In her first detailed account since she left the UK at age 15 in 2015, she claimed she and her friends were recruited online by Isis supporters to be a ‘part of something’.

Ms Begum, from Bethnal Green, East London, said the recruiters preyed on the guilt they felt at seeing Muslims suffer in the Syrian conflict, according to The Telegraph

Shamima Begum (pictured) claimed she joined the Islamic State because she didn't want to be the 'friend that was left behind' in a documentary about her life in a Syrian refugee camp

Shamima Begum (pictured) claimed she joined the Islamic State because she didn't want to be the 'friend that was left behind' in a documentary about her life in a Syrian refugee camp

Shamima Begum (pictured) claimed she joined the Islamic State because she didn’t want to be the ‘friend that was left behind’ in a documentary about her life in a Syrian refugee camp

Speaking on the documentary The Return: Life After Isis, Ms Begum explained: ‘I knew it was a big decision, but I just felt compelled to do it quickly. 

‘I didn’t want to be the friend that was left behind.’

Ms Begum is currently being held at the al-Roj camp in northern Syria, after she had her British citizenship stripped by the Government, which in turn sparked an ongoing legal battle.

Around 800 families live in the al-Roj camp, close to the borders with Turkey and Iran and much-preferred to the infamous al-Hol centre 80 miles away and home to 15,000 families.

In the 90-minute film, Ms Begum accused the Government of fabricating stories about her commitment to radical Islam when her citizenship was removed, claiming she was too scared to condemn Isis out of fears for her safety in the camp. 

She also revealed the heartbreak of having to tell the parents of her friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana that the two girls had been killed in the city of Baghuz.  

Ms Begum, from East London, said Isis recruiters preyed on the guilt they felt at seeing Muslims suffer in the Syrian conflict. Pictured: Camp Roj in Syria where Ms Begum is held

Ms Begum, from East London, said Isis recruiters preyed on the guilt they felt at seeing Muslims suffer in the Syrian conflict. Pictured: Camp Roj in Syria where Ms Begum is held

 Ms Begum, from East London, said Isis recruiters preyed on the guilt they felt at seeing Muslims suffer in the Syrian conflict. Pictured: Camp Roj in Syria where Ms Begum is held

Tearfully recounting her story, she said: ‘Now I feel like I have no friends anymore, they were everything I had.’ 

It comes after Ms Begum revealed the wanted to kill herself when her three children died in Syria and begged Britain to give her a ‘second chance’.

Begum said that she hoped British people would have an ‘open mind about why I left and who I am now as a person’ and urged the government to allow her to return home.

In the documentary, she cried when talking about losing her three children during the Syrian war and says that she wanted to kill herself because of the grief. 

Begum says people wrongly ‘feel like I’m responsible’ for the crimes of ISIS but she now realises she was ‘naive’ and rejects its beliefs.

She said: ‘They just think I knew about these crimes and I supported these crimes but that’s not true.

‘I would never support something like this, like the things they did.’

When Begum was tracked down for the first time in 2019 after fleeing the UK, she was pregnant, widowed and had lost two children.

Her third died shortly after birth and in the film Begum cried as she spoke about losing all of her babies.

Begum was 15 when she ran away with two other schoolgirls - Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Shamima Begum, 15 - to Syria to marry a Dutch jihadi in 2015. at Gatwick airport in February 2015

Begum was 15 when she ran away with two other schoolgirls - Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Shamima Begum, 15 - to Syria to marry a Dutch jihadi in 2015. at Gatwick airport in February 2015

Begum was 15 when she ran away with two other schoolgirls – Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15 – (all pictured at Gatwick airport) to Syria to marry a Dutch jihadi in 2015

Ms Begum is currently being held at the al-Roj camp in northern Syria (pictured), after she had her British citizenship stripped by the Government, which sparked an ongoing legal battle

Ms Begum is currently being held at the al-Roj camp in northern Syria (pictured), after she had her British citizenship stripped by the Government, which sparked an ongoing legal battle

Ms Begum is currently being held at the al-Roj camp in northern Syria (pictured), after she had her British citizenship stripped by the Government, which sparked an ongoing legal battle 

Speaking about the death of her daughter, Begum said: ‘When she died it was so hard because I just felt so alone and I felt like my entire world was falling apart in front of me and I couldn’t do anything.

‘I felt like it was my fault for not getting them out sooner.

‘When she [her daughter] died at that moment I just wanted to kill myself. I felt like I couldn’t even get up to run any more when there were bombings.

‘The only thing keeping me alive was my baby I was pregnant with. I felt like I had to do him right by getting him out and giving him a normal life.’

She is one of several British women stranded in Roj camp after having their citizenship revoked. 

Begum was 15 when she ran away with two other schoolgirls to Syria to marry a Dutch jihadi in 2015.

In February, the UK’s Supreme Court ruled that she cannot return to the UK to pursue an appeal against the removal of her British citizenship.

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