Jeremy Hunt has insisted officials are working on how to rescue British children born to Islamic State runaways after the death of Shamima Begum’s baby in a Syrian camp.
The Foreign Secretary’s defence came on Sunday after it was reported that two further women married into the terror group have been stripped of their UK citizenship while being held in detention camps with their children.
Ms Begum, who fled east London to join the cult aged 15, had pleaded to return to Britain with her boy after already losing two children, but Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked her passport.
He has faced growing criticism over the move after her three-week-old son died in a camp last week, with his Labour counterpart Diane Abbott calling the death a “stain on the conscience of this Government”.
Mr Hunt said the British boy’s death was “an incredibly distressing and sad situation” but that it was too dangerous to dispatch officials to the war zone, adding that they are at a greater risk than the journalists who have interviewed her.
“Shamima knew when she made the decision to join Daesh (IS) she was going to a country where there’s no embassy, where there’s no consular assistance. And I’m afraid those decisions, awful though it is, they do have consequences,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.
Mr Hunt said he is working with International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt on how children can be safely returned.
“We have been looking at how we can get in touch with these children, how we can find a way to get them out. Sadly in this case, as we know, it wasn’t possible,” he added.
How to treat innocent British children who are stuck in the squalor of Syrian detention camps will be an increasing issue.
The Sunday Times reported that two women, with five boys under the age of eight between them, had their UK nationality stripped after marrying into a terror cell linked to the murder of western hostages.
Quoting legal sources, the paper named the women as Reema Iqbal, 30, and her sister Zara, 28, whose parents are originally from Pakistan.
The Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases.
“Any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly,” a spokesman added.