Syrian sources claim the son of British jihadist Sally Jones, dubbed the ‘White Widow’ by the media, is alive and well. Joe ‘Jojo’ Dixon, 12, was thought to have been killed alongside his mother in a CIA Reaper drone strike in June.
Initial reports suggested the British woman used her indoctrinated son as a human shield while trying to flee the Syrian city of Raqqa. The Kent mother took her son and travelled to Syria in 2012 to join her new husband Junaid Hussein and Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). She quickly rose through the ranks of IS to become a top recruiter, and is said to have recruited hundreds of UK women to become jihadi brides.
When Jones’ husband was killed in a 2015 raid, her son was taken from her by the caliphate. The news of Jojo’s survival comes as Westminster faces criticism for failing to help UK citizens abroad. The parents of ‘Jihadi Jack,’ a British man who is being held by Kurdish forces in northern Syria after travelling to the war ravaged country to join IS, have accused the Foreign Office and Boris Johnson of being “obstructive” in their bid to bring their son home. Johnson has also been criticized after comments he made in a foreign affairs committee meeting resulted in the possibility of a British woman’s jail sentence in Iran being extended by five years.
Anonymous sources told The Telegraph that UK-born Jojo is currently in the village of al-Shaafa, near Syria’s eastern border. He was last seen in the village three weeks ago.
According to two separate sources, when Jojo turned 12 in December he was considered to be of fighting age and was conscripted into the ranks of IS. He is now known by the Islamic name Hamza, and was inducted into Islamic State’s ‘cubs of the caliphate’ training camps in northern Syria in early 2016.
A resident from al-Shaafa, who has recently fled the village just south of the former IS stronghold Deir ez-Zor, told The Telegraph that foreign children like Jojo are considered to be the future of IS.
“Foreign fighters, mostly Turkish, took Joe and some other foreign children from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor province in April to protect them, as they are the future of the caliphate. They weren’t using them as human shields, as some people say, because the presence of children does not stop the coalition from bombing,” the source said.
Last year Jojo’s father confirmed that his son had featured in an IS execution video, in which a number of boys executed captured Kurdish fighters.