500 French children in jihadi-held areas of Iraq and Syria, official says

Around half of the children were born there, according to a French presidency official

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb waves as he leaves the municipal police supervision centre as part of the Euro-Mediterranean conference of cities on the prevention of radicalisation and for the fight against terrorism in Nice, France September 29, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
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Some 700 French adults, one-third of them women, and about 500 children are in jihadi-held areas in Iraq and Syria, an official at the French president’s office said on Friday, raising potential legal challenges over how to handle them.

The presidency official said that half of the 500 children were born there, and in total about 2,000 French nationals or residents had gone to the two countries, of whom between 200 and 300 had been killed.


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France, like other European nations, is wrestling with how to deal with those returning from the conflict. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, said in August that 271 jihadi militants had gone back to France and were under investigation.

Around 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected ISIL fighters are being held by Iraqi authorities in a camp after government forces expelled the jihadist group from one of its last remaining strongholds in Iraq.