Home Secretary Priti Patel blocked a rescue operation to bring British orphans home from Syria because the children posed security concerns, it was reported over the weekend.
The original plan was that over 60 British minors including three orphans planned to leave the country through north-east Syria and onto Erbil in Iraq from where they would fly back to the UK. A number of councils had agreed to care packages and reintegration programmes for them.
But Patel, along with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and the Chancellor Sajid Javid, objected and so the plan was abandoned at the last minute.
Roughly 80,000 women and 9,00 children who fled Daesh held territory live in overcrowded, unhygienic and unsafe camps – 225 children died there in the first half of this year.
Patel’s decision comes not long after a petition circulated in September to keep reuniting child refugees with their parents after the Home Office announced plans to end the current system of family reunification for asylum seeking children in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Charities warned that scrapping this scheme would keep them stranded there and force them to risk the Channel crossing between France and Britain or try their luck on other dangerous routes with people smugglers.
Earlier this year Javid stripped Daesh bride Shamima Begum of her British citizenship after she travelled to Syria from the UK in 2015 when she was 15 years old. In February she gave interviews to the press asking to return home, however, her efforts to return were quashed after Javid vowed not to let any Daesh fighter return to Britain.
Her son died of pneumonia when he was less than three weeks. She had already lost two children. When her son died, shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said:
It is against international law to make someone stateless, and now an innocent child has died as a result of a British woman being stripped of her citizenship. This is callous and inhumane.
Also over the weekend Patel told the Sun on Sunday that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would pose a “chilling risk” to national security if he wins the election on 12 December.
The Home Secretary said Corbyn and Abbott have “sided with and defended some of the most appalling individuals and terrorist groups” and “just the thought of those two in charge of our national security makes me feel ill”.
Patel criticised Corbyn for telling LBC last week that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi should have been arrested and tried at the International Court of Justice rather than being killed.
“If we believe, as we do, in international law and justice, and the power of the International Court of Justice, then we should do everything we can to bring people where they deserve to go on trial to be put on trial, as was Milosevic,” he said.