LONDON: A former British Daesh bride detained in a prison camp in northeast Syria will die without medical intervention, with the UK government’s inaction amounting to “barbarism,” a neurologist told The Times.
The woman in her 40s, who is known by the pseudonym Layla, first traveled to Syria to join Daesh during the country’s conflict.
Following the collapse of the terror group and detainment of thousands of former fighters and their families, Layla — who is epileptic and partially paralyzed as a result of a shrapnel wound — has repeatedly appealed for medical aid through National Health Service consultant neurologist Dr. David Nicholl.
But despite his repeated warnings to the government that Layla will die without urgent medical aid, the government has yet to respond.
He first examined her via an online meeting late last year. Following another Zoom video call in November, Nicholl found that Layla’s condition had significantly worsened, with shrapnel in her neck having moved dangerously close to the aorta.
He said: “She’s ill and at risk of dying and needs to be got out of there and brought back immediately. It’s utterly inhumane.”
Layla, who has a university degree and held a high-level public sector job in the UK before traveling to Syria with her husband, suffered a stroke in 2019. “She has had life-changing neurological injuries as a consequence of her stroke,” Nicholl added.
“She does not speak Arabic so it is hard for her to understand the medical advice she is being given.
“It troubles me that my previous assessment has still not been acted on, the case for her urgent transfer still remains.
“Everything about this is a mess. Her son is also vulnerable and watching all this and is in a place where no child should be.”
Layla spoke to the Sunday Times in June, claiming: “I was never a threat.” She added: “Whatever people think I have done I am prepared to face trial. I made a mistake, why should my son pay?
“Life in the camp is really, really hard. It’s hard to walk on the stones with my crutches. I am embarrassed to have to ask for help for everything, and the tent is so hot and when it’s windy the whole tent moves.”
Human rights group Reprieve has also appealed to the UK government to act urgently and rescue Layla.
The organization sent a letter to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly that said: “Her condition has become critical and a local doctor told her that without urgent surgery, she will die. She requires immediate medical assistance that cannot be provided in northeast Syria.”
In response to the appeals, Cleverly told The Times: “I am not comfortable going into specific cases. They are difficult, they are sensitive, we do always look at the cases.”