By Danya Bazaraa and Milo Boyd - October 28, 2019
The government is quietly preparing to bring jihadi brides and their children back to the UK from Syria, according to reports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab have backed plans to repatriate the women and children, correspondence seen by The Sunday Times suggests.
The senior politicians had faced opposition from the Ministry of Defence, which did not want to be responsible for transporting them to the country.
The Home Office had also raised concerns about having to monitor the brides if they returned.
Mr Johnson and Mr Raab's apparent efforts come as ministers reportedly privately admitted the Government's thinking on the matter had evolved since former Home Secretary Sajid Javid refused British citizen Shamima Begum's passage to the UK.
A minister told The Sunday Times: "The PM made a decision and we will all work some way to sort it but it is very difficult given the security situation."
"We will examine every single case where we are asked for consular assistance, but this process is far from straightforward."
Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Andrew Murrison said in the Commons on October 22: "Innocent minors trapped in north-east Syria are, without doubt, vulnerable.
"All of these cases must be approached with care and compassion. We are aware that British nationals, including children, are living in displaced persons’ camps in Syria, but, owing to the circumstances on the ground, we are not in a position to make an accurate estimate of the number.
"The safety and security of British nationals abroad is a priority for the Foreign Office, although UK travel advice has consistently advised against all travel to Syria since 2011.
"Although the UK has no consular presence in Syria from which to provide assistance, we will do all we can for unaccompanied minors and orphans.
"The Foreign Secretary made it clear to the House last week that the Government will try to help any British unaccompanied minors and orphans in Syria.
"We work with all concerned in Syria and at home to facilitate the return of unaccompanied or orphan children where feasible. Each case is considered on an individual basis."
The Home Office said it had nothing further to add when contacted by Mirror Online.
Former cabinet minister David Davis criticised the "woefully inadequate" response of the Government to vulnerable British people living in war-torn Syria.
One such person is Daniel Islam, who is the baby son of Ashraf - a British ISIS fighter held by Kurdish forces in Syria.
Daniel's aunt, who works in the pharmaceutical industry in East London, has said she will look after the young boy if given the chance.
“He’s Ashraf’s baby, he’s our flesh and blood. Of course we’ll look after him," she told the paper.
“I know Ashraf going there was a mistake and it was wrong . . . Bring him to England and put him in prison, punish him, prosecute him, but he needs to be in his country."
It is believed that Daniel is in a detention camp with his mother, who was stripped of her British citizenship.
Reports say another woman who could return is Tooba Gondal, who recruited and made propaganda for ISIS.
Foreign Office officials have approached London based family members to establish the identities of her two children and find out about her alleged activities.
It has been claimed that detectives are trying to build a case against her so they can prosecute the 25-year-old on her return.
In Syria she married an Isis fighter and the couple had three children, all of whom died of disease or malnutrition.
The most recent child lost his life while they were in a prison camp in northern Syria.
The Bethnal Green born teenager was stripped of her citizenship on the grounds of national security in February, amid a political row over whether she was a dual British and Bangladeshi citizen.