Four years after she left London as a 15-year-old schoolgirl to join ISIS, the group is on the verge of losing the last of its territory—and Shamima Begum has decided she wants to go home. The Times of London found the 19-year-old in a refugee camp in eastern Syria, where she said she was due to give birth "any day now" and would "do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child." Begum said her two other children had died—a girl almost 2 years old who died a month ago, and an 8-month-old baby who died three months ago. She said her husband, a Dutch convert to Islam whom she married 10 days after arriving in Syria in 2015, surrendered to Syrian fighters after they left the ISIS stronghold of Baghuz and she has not seen him since.
Begum confirmed that Kadiza Sultana, one of the classmates she fled London with, was killed in a 2016 airstrike,the BBC reports. She said she had heard two weeks ago that a third classmate, Amira Abase, was still in Baghuz. Begum said she had left Baghuz because she was "weak" and did not want another child to die. But despite her desire to return to Britain, she said she did not regret coming to Syria, and described her life in Raqqa, the former capital of the ISIS "caliphate," as "normal." "When I saw my first severed head in a bin it didn't faze me at all," she told the Times. "It was from a captured fighter seized on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam." It's not clear whether Begum will be detained if she returns to the UK. (A photographer seized by ISIS in 2012 might still be alive.)