The ‘Daeshi’ section of the Al-Hawl refugee camp is a strange and forbidding place.
Displaced jihadi wives, covered head to toe by long black garments, wander amid the billowing white tents they call home, clutching knock-off designer handbags.
This is their only nod to Western values and the undercurrent of suppressed menace is unmistakable.
Many of these women, still in thrall to their men and the brutal Islamic State ideology, have attacked the people who are trying to help them.
Shamima Begum pictured with her week old son in Al Hawl camp for captured ISIS wives
Market day in Al Hawl camp. Shamima has given several interviews, but I am the first journalist she has invited inside the tent she calls home
I have come to see the most famous jihadi bride of all, Shamima Begum, the teenager from East London, but I am not allowed to visit this part of the camp without a security guard armed with an AK-47 assault rifle.
Since she was discovered here earlier this month, nine months’ pregnant and having fled IS’s final showdown, Shamima has given several interviews, but I am the first journalist she has invited inside the tent she calls home.
She sits crossed-legged on a thin black mattress in her socks, her week-old son, Jerah, on her lap. The child is named after a 7th century Islamic warlord.
Shamima tells me she has been given the tent because she is ‘famous now’.
Removing her headscarf she explains politely that she is sorry she cannot offer me tea because she has no means of heating water.
At just 19, she has been living in a war zone since the age of 15. She has given birth three times and lost two children: a toddler daughter died a few weeks ago and she lost her other son at eight-months-old last year. Her husband is in jail.
Shamima told the Mail if allowed back into Britain she would dedicate herself to stopping other girls being radicalised
I find Shamima at pains to be conciliatory. She finally seems to understand the offence she has caused and the damage it has done to her prospects of returning home (pictured: Market day in Al Hawl camp)
Her own family in Britain have said they are appalled at some of the things she has said and at the weekend her father condemned her lack of remorse for what IS has done.
Today I find Shamima at pains to be conciliatory. She finally seems to understand the offence she has caused and the damage it has done to her prospects of returning home.
‘I am hoping to be given a second chance’, she says quietly.
‘I’d like to be an example of how someone can change. I want to help, encourage other young British people to think before they make life- changing decisions like this and not to make the same mistake as me.
‘I can’t do that if I am sitting here in a camp. I can’t do that for you.’
Cynics may question her sincerity and she clings to the belief that she is a victim in all of this, rather than someone who chose to leave her home and join a terror group.
‘I feel like I’ve been discriminated against because everyone was saying I was a poster girl for ISIS,’ she says of the decision to strip her of her passport. ‘I’m being made an example of. I’m being punished right now because I’m famous.’
And she questions why scores of other jihadi wives and their children have been allowed back to the UK after travelling to Syria to join IS.
It is claimed that about 425 British IS members, men, women and children, have so far returned to the UK, the highest tally in Europe.
She admits she is scared, not least because her recent ‘fame’ had angered a lot of the other jihadi wives in the camp.
‘Now a lot of women hate me, I’m afraid of a lot of people,’ she says.
Possibly with good cause. I have been told by others here that her recent interviews – in which she exposed her face on TV – have angered the more hardline IS women in the camp. There has been ‘talk’ of her tent being burned down.
Some recent arrivals from the Deir ez-Zor countryside have to sleep outside before tents become available. Dozens of babies have died in the cold already this winter
The sprawling camp is home to up to 40,000 refugees from Syria’s war zones who are looked after by the International Red Cross and various non-governmental organisations. Conditions are desperate.
Some recent arrivals from the Deir ez-Zor countryside have to sleep outside before tents become available. Dozens of babies have died in the cold already this winter.
Now it is midday, the sun is shining and inside the tent it is stiflingly warm. But Shamima won’t open the flap to let air circulate in case they are spotted without their headscarves.
The women in the ‘Daeshi’ area of the camp – Daesh is the Arabic term used by its detractors to describe IS – are enclosed by barbed wire fencing and are not permitted to go outside its perimeter.
There are hundreds of fanatical IS families here on this side of the barbed wire fence, recently arrived from the battlefield in and around the village of Baghouz where the group is making its last stand.
Among them are as many as a dozen Britons, but most are going to painstaking lengths not to be identified.
Among them are as many as a dozen Britons, but most are going to painstaking lengths not to be identified
Food is brought by women from the refugee side, where it is then sold to those ‘Daeshi’ families who have smuggled money out of their terror group’s crumbling remains.
The others rely on handouts from non-governmental organisations, the Kurdish authorities, and the International Red Cross.
Shamima coughs and says, although is it is mild today, she is sick from the cold. She is fortunate to have a tent but there is no oil burning stove for cooking.
She says she is ‘stressed’ from the lack of sleep as she nurses her gurgling son, who is wearing a white and blue fleece baby grow – donated to her by another mother in camp.
Shamima made it known on arrival that she would like to marry an English-speaking fighter aged between 20 and 25 years old
As we sit there crossed-legged chatting, she starts to open up about what life was like under IS.
She handed over her British passport willingly when she arrived in Syria with two school friends in February 2015.
‘They took my passport but I thought to myself ‘‘what am I going to do with it? I don’t really have any use for it’’,’ she says.
She never expected to go back. Her future, the future she wanted, was as a housewife in the caliphate.
Ten days after arriving in Raqqa, she was taken to a room to meet Yago Riedijk, a 23-year-old Dutch convert to Islam. It was the moment she had been waiting for.
She never expected to go back. Her future, the future she wanted, was as a housewife in the caliphate
She made it known on arrival that she would like to marry an English-speaking fighter aged between 20 and 25 years old. Riedijk, who changed his name to Abu Zoraya was, she says, just her type.
‘When I first saw him, I was like ‘‘OK, yeah, he is good looking’’,’ she giggles, momentarily the giddy teenager. She even had a piece of paper in her pocket with a list of questions for him.
‘I took out the paper, that’s what women do, you have to ask your questions. He was straight up and he was truthful with me.’
Her first question was: What do you expect from me?
‘He told me that he was strict and he wanted a good housewife that stays inside. He didn’t want someone who is Westernised and wants to always go out and stuff’,’ she said.
Her next question: Are you a fighter?
‘He said he was injured still and he was still recovering but he was planning to go fight again soon,’ she said. A few more questions and that was that. ‘I said yes, and he said yes.’
She had got what she came for. A husband who was fighting for IS and a ‘normal’ life.
Shamima Begum in the Al Hawl camp in Kurdish Syria
‘I went to ISIS thinking I would have a normal life but it turned out not to be true. I just got tricked, I guess,’ she says ruefully.
Outside there is shouting: a three-year-old boy has just aimed a makeshift catapult filled with stones at a toddler’s head from less than three feet away.
Our photographer Jamie Wiseman, who is waiting outside the tent, is forced to intervene.
Shamima loves her husband Riedijk, a convicted terrorist who police believe was part of a cell plotting an atrocity in Europe, but she’s delusional about the prospect of a future with him.
‘I hope for him to see his only surviving child. He loved his children a lot, when I lost them I think it had a bigger effect on him than me,’ she says.
‘If he does get sent back to his own country, he will do his time there in his own country… (I will) wait for him. I am still married to him.’ We discuss the political situation and Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s suggestion that he might consider IS children being brought back without their mothers.
According to estimates by The Soufan Centre, a thinktank on global security issues, up to 100 children could have been born to British jihadi wives in Syria and Iraq.
It is believed that some 150 British girls and women have travelled to join IS, and almost all have married and given birth.
The sprawling Al Hawl refugee camp which contains a secure area for captured ISIS wives
Suddenly, for the first time, she shows some emotion and bursts into tears. ‘How can you ask a mother to separate herself from her son, especially after everything I have lost? This boy is all I have.’
What she most misses about Britain, she says, is ‘the feeling of being safe and secure, not having planes flying over me, not having to randomly move in the middle of the night’.
For now Shamima and her baby son must stay put in their little tent until their fate is decided.
She shares it with Dura Ahmed, 28, a Canadian mother who tries to appease her own tearful child with a chocolate biscuit. There are a couple of rucksacks, some bread, a tub of cheese spread and some jerry cans filled with water.
In Shamima’s corner is a pair of neon blue fake Nike trainers. She bought them for just over $4 (£3) a few days ago. They were the few dollar notes she has left.
It is time for me to leave, promising to come back with news of the outside world. ‘Inshalla (God willing) I’ll see you soon,’ I tell her.