A British child has been rescued from Syria as part of efforts to bring home unaccompanied or orphaned minors caught up in the fallout of the Islamic State conflict.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced on Wednesday that the Government had brought the child – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – back to the UK.
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.”
The child’s mother – who also cannot be identified for legal reasons – had left Britain for Syria to align herself with the so-called Islamic State and her current whereabouts are unknown.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Mr Raab added: “As I set out in the House last year, 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.
Responding to the news of the rescue, the charity’s Syrian response director Sonia Khush said: “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.”