France repatriates children of ISIS fighters from Syria
French social services have called them ‘particularly vulnerable’ and taken them into care
France brought back children of ISIS fighters from northeast Syria on Wednesday, continuing a repatriation process which began after the toppling of the extremist group's so-called caliphate.
The seven children, aged between 2 and 11, are particularly vulnerable and have been taken into care by social services, the foreign ministry said.
They had been living in the Kurdish-run Roj and Al Hol camps, where thousands of relatives of ISIS fighters and sympathisers have been held there since the terror group’s defeat in Syria, a Kurdish source in the region told AFP.
France has so far repatriated 35 children, many of them orphans. According to the international child rights organisation, Save the Children, there are more than 9,000 foreign children in the region altogether, including some British. There are around 43,000 children in the largest camp, Al Hol.
Rights groups have been pressuring European governments to allow children to return from the crowded and desolate camps.
Kurdish officials have also been pressuring countries to take back their citizens, warning that they do not have the resources to guard prisoners indefinitely.
France has insisted it will only take back children. Mothers will remain behind to face local justice but many of the women have refused to be separated from their children.
Updated: January 13, 2021 08:05 PM