Son of British Isil mother ‘still fighting’
The son of Sally Jones, the British Isil fighter killed in an air strike, is still alive and fighting with the jihadists, Syrian sources have said. Joe “Jojo” Dixon, 12, was not with Jones when she was killed by a CIA drone in June, according to witnesses who said the boy was 35 miles away.
THE SON of Sally Jones, who became the UK’S most wanted woman after joining Isil, did not die in the air strike that killed his mother and is likely to be still alive, Syrian sources have told The Daily Telegraph.
Joe “Jojo” Dixon, 12, had not been with Jones when a convoy she was travelling in was struck by a CIA Reaper drone in June.
According to witnesses, who requested anonymity to protect their safety, the boy was about 35 miles away in the village of al-shaafa, near Syria’s eastern border with Iraq.
He was separated from his mother soon after Jones’s husband Junaid Hussein was killed in a 2015 raid.
When he turned 12 last December, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) group considered him of fighting age and conscripted him into its ranks, according to two different sources.
Jojo, who was given the Islamic name Hamza, underwent several months of training in Isil’s “cubs of the caliphate” camps in northern Syria in early 2016. A photograph obtained by
The Telegraph – the last known picture of him – shows the boy wearing an Afghan-style smock during training last year in Raqqa.
“Foreign fighters, mostly Turkish, took Joe and some other Western children from Raqqa to Deir Ezzor province in April to protect them as they are the future of the caliphate,” one resident of al-shaafa who recently fled told
The Telegraph by phone.
They were moved in anticipation of a Us-backed offensive to take Raqqa, which was launched in June.
“They weren’t using them as human shields, as some people say, because the presence of children does not stop the coalition from bombing,” he said. Jojo was last seen in al-shaafa three weeks ago, where he was living in a house with other children under the protection of senior commanders.
Jones, a 50-year-old punk rock singer-turned-jihadist from Kent, became Britain’s most wanted woman after fleeing to Syria in 2013 to marry Hussain, an Isil fighter and computer hacker from Birmingham.
Jones had converted to Islam before meeting Hussain online and was a prolific recruiter. She is believed to have convinced hundreds of British women to work for Isil, and in 2016 called on female sympathisers back home to carry out terrorist attacks.
“She came into an internet café in Raqqa and I remember the owner asking her if she had a male guardian,” a Raqqa resident said, using just his first name, Mohammed.
“She said ‘my husband is dead and Isil took my son from me to train as a soldier. I am alone.’ She seemed upset at that,” he said. “She was asking him to install a secret internet line in her house, which was not allowed under Isil.”
He said she told the café owner in February that she was leaving Raqqa, the capital of Isil’s so-called caliphate, for Deir Ezzor on the orders of a “senior Isil leader”. The British government confirmed Jones’s death at the time the reports surfaced in October, but it could not say whether Jojo was killed in the strike.
The government is not believed to have been consulted over the raid and there was no UK military involvement. However, Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary at the time, said Jones was a legitimate target. He warned that Britons who had joined Isil and were plotting attacks on the UK had “made yourself a legitimate target and you run the risk every hour of every day of bethe ing on the wrong end of an RAF or a United States missile”.
The Telegraph’s source said the group had come under pressure from Syrian troops in recent weeks and it is thought many of its remaining members have moved into the Iraqi desert.
If Jojo is still alive he is in danger of being killed in fighting to retake the last of Isil’s territory or being captured by Syrian forces or Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.
“Isil has good experience fighting in desert,” said Omar Abu Layla, executive director of the news outlet Deirezzor24. “They will likely not give up easily now that they have little territory to hide in. It will be a big battle.”
Isil now only controls a few villages and desert areas north of Albu Kamal, and scattered pockets elsewhere in Syria and Iraq. A day after losing Albu Kamal last Thursday they launched a counter-attack in an attempt to cling to their last urban bastion, managing to retake several neighbourhoods.
‘Foreign fighters took Joe and some other Western children to protect them as they are the future of the caliphate’
Joe ‘Jojo’ Dixon, the 12-year-old son of jihadi widow Sally Jones, above left; in an Isil propaganda video, above; and pictured in the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2016, far left