ISIS Bride Shamima Begum, Stuck in Syrian ‘Camp Sunshine,’ Says Her Mental Health Is Failing

September 26, 2019 Updated: September 26, 2019

A British teenager who ran away from home to join ISIS in Syria and has been stuck in a refugee camp complained her mental health is declining and again pleaded to be allowed to return to the UK.

Shamima Begum, whose British citizenship has been revoked due to security concerns, was one of three schoolgirls to leave London in 2015 and join ISIS. She surfaced in a refugee camp earlier this year in the wake of an allied offensive against the terror group’s final enclave in Baghuz, eastern Syria.

Recently, 19-year-old Begum was tracked to another location called Camp Sunshine by Daily Mail reporter Richard Pendlebury. She told him: “My mental health situation is not the best. My physical health is okay. I am still young and I do not get sick. That is not my problem. Mentally, though, I am in a really bad way.”

Renu, the eldest sister of Shamima Begum, holds her sister’s photo
Renu, the eldest sister of Shamima Begum, holds her sister’s photo at New Scotland Yard in London on Feb. 22, 2015. (Laura Lean/PA Wire/Getty Images)

Begum has lived in several refugee camps since granting an interview to The Times of London from the al-Hawl camp in northeastern Syria in February, when she said: “I could not endure the suffering and hardship that staying on the battlefield involved. But I was also frightened that the child I am about to give birth to would die like my other children if I stayed on. So I fled the caliphate.”

She was pregnant at the time of the interview and later gave birth, but the baby died.

Speaking to reporters in al-Hawl in February, she made statements that could be construed as supportive of terrorism. Begum said that while she did not agree with everything the terror group had done, she had “no regrets” about joining ISIS and suggested that airstrikes against the terror group in Syria somehow “justified” the Manchester Arena terror attack.

“It’s a two-way thing, really,” she told the BBC, adding that the suicide bomber that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester was a “kind of retaliation” for bombardments of ISIS-held enclaves, adding, “So I thought, OK, that is a fair justification.”

British authorities later rescinded her citizenship after determining she was a security threat.

She has since spoken out critically about ISIS, expressed regret about joining the jihadi group, and acknowledged she had been “brainwashed.”

Speaking to The Times of London in the al-Roj refugee camp in Syria on April 1, Begum said, “I do regret having children in the caliphate,” and appealed to British authorities to be allowed to return to the UK.

“I came thinking it would be a place of belonging where I could raise a family safely,” Begum was cited by The Times of London as saying. “But it was not a place to have children.”

Now, speaking to the Daily Mail at Camp Sunshine, Begum said: “I need therapy to deal with my grief. It is so hard. I have lost all my children.”

She added: “There is no mental health provision. I have heard that in other camps there is psychiatric help, but not here.”

Begum told the Daily Mail she is at least thankful not to be at the al-Hawl camp with its tens of thousands of ISIS family members and sympathizers that has been described as a “ticking time bomb” of Islamism.

“I have no real friends,” Begum added. “I have lost all the friends who came with me. Now I do not have anyone.”

Follow Tom on Twitter: @OZImekTOM
RECOMMENDED