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60 UK children trapped in north-east Syria after fleeing Daesh

Children walking in the mud and water outside their shelters at Al-Ihsan refugee camp as Syrians enduring harsh winter at the camp in Idlib, Syria on 15 January, 2019 [Muhammed Abdullah /Anadolu Agency]

At least 60 British children are trapped in north-east Syria after fleeing Daesh-held areas, a charity revealed today.

Save the Children said many of these children are under the age of five and often live in squalid conditions in displacement camps.

The charity also expressed concern about the older children's mental health as a result of the brutality and violence they witnessed committed by Daesh.

Alison Griffin, Save the Children's Head of Conflict and Humanitarian Campaigns, said: "Children in Syria who have fled [Daesh]-held areas are innocent. Their short lives have been full of violence and fear but with the right care they can bounce back, recover and amaze us. They deserve that chance, no matter what they've been dragged into by the decisions of adults."

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She continued: "For the British children among them we can and must give them the safety they need by bringing them to be cared for in the UK."

This comes after sources in Whitehall claimed that the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is making moves to identify British minors from Syria and bring them home.

Although Save the Children welcomed this change in policy, it urged Raab to "act now".

Griffin said: "The Foreign Secretary has said he wants to ensure 'innocents are not caught in the crossfire'. To play his part to achieve that, he needs to act now while there's still a window of opportunity and bring all the UK's children home."

Earlier this year, former Home Secretary Sajid Javid stripped teenage Daesh bride Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship, leaving her to live in a refugee camp in north-east Syria, a move her lawyers have declared "unlawful".

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