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MPs call for British child and ill mother to be returned to UK from Syrian camp

MPs and a human rights group have called on the UK government to repatriate a young British boy and his gravely ill mother from a detention camp in Syria, after doctors said she was at risk of dying and leaving the child orphaned.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it was reviewing the case of Zaid* and his mother, Maryam* – who was injured in an explosion in Syria in 2019 and left with shrapnel in her head – “as a matter of priority”.

However, despite multiple requests over several months to repatriate the family, no action has been taken. Maryam’s condition has continued to worsen and she is unlikely to survive without medical intervention, according to doctors.

At least 30 British children remain in Syrian detention camps in dangerous and squalid conditions, despite warnings from MPs that there was “compelling evidence” that women and children had been trafficked.

Most of the women and children in the camps were captured by Syrian Kurdish fighters, ground troops in the US-led coalition against the terror group, when fleeing IS territory after the fall of Baghouz in 2019.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, who visited the pair, said Maryam’s tent was recently set alight and Zaid was forced to drag his mother out to save them both. Arson is a common occurrence as IS followers try to break out of the camps, though there are also often accidents with stoves.

The young boy now “sees fires everywhere”, and remains on constant alert, said Foa. “He refuses to play outside with other children as he is afraid that if he leaves his mother’s side, she might die.” Read the full story in The Guardian.