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British child rescued from Syria, Dominic Raab announces

The Independent logo The Independent 16/09/2020 Jon Sharman
Dominic Raab wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Independent

A British child has been brought home from Syria as part of a plan to rescue orphans or unaccompanied young people who had been caught up in the war on Isis.

Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, announced the repatriation of the child on Wednesday. They cannot be named for legal reasons, nor can their mother, who left the UK to join Isis and whose whereabouts are unknown.

Mr Raab said on Twitter: "Pleased we have been able to bring home a British child from Syria. As I have said previously, we assess each case carefully.

"Safely facilitating the return of orphans or unaccompanied British children, where possible, is the right thing to do."

In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Mr Raab added: "We will take the necessary and secure steps to bring home British unaccompanied or orphaned minors from Syria.

"These are children who have experienced the worst horrors of war and bringing them home is the right thing to do."

Mr Raab last year told MPs that children rescued from the fighting in northern Syria could be allowed to return home as long as there was "no security threat".

Save the Children said at the time that as many as 60 British children remained stranded in appalling conditions in Syria.

The charity said on Wednesday that the child had been living at one of its centres in the country. When it was time to leave, Save the Children said the child asked if the others there, of some 20 different nationalities, could join them in Britain.

A spokesperson added: “Every child saved is a triumph of compassion and this is very welcome news. We’re proud to have cared for this child and supported the UK government to bring them home. When the child was rescued, they asked if other children at our centre could come too.

"Children in Syria who have fled Isis-held areas are innocent, including those with their mothers. They are swept up in horrific events far beyond their control and their short lives have been full of violence and fear.

"The threat to children in these camps is huge. Recently eight children under the age of five died in just five days and coronavirus has reached the camps, raising fears of a devastating outbreak.

“The UK government can and must bring the remaining British children home to recover in safety. This has never been more urgent and today’s good news shows it can be done.”

Additional reporting by PA

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