Four female ISIS recruits and their children to return to Sweden

Security services set to meet group at airport to ensure children have not been radicalised

FILE PHOTO: A view of the al-Hol camp for internally displaced people in northeastern Syria where British-born Shamima Begum was discovered in 2019.  REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri/File Photo
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Four female Swedish ISIS supporters and their nine children are being allowed to return home after escaping from a refugee camp in Syria.

The women were in Al Hol, a camp that houses tens of thousands of displaced people in north-east Syria, but they fled two months ago.

A delegation from Sweden's Foreign Ministry went to Al Hol two weeks ago and was told by Kurdish authorities that female ISIS recruits could now be tried in Syria for terrorism offences.

The escaped recruits were now being held in Turkey and it is understood their return home was delayed while authorities waited for the results of DNA tests on the children to confirm their relationships to the women.

One of the detainees has tested positive for coronavirus.

Jonas Trolle, head of the Centre against Violent Extremism, said the police, security services and social services would meet the group upon their return.

Mr Trolle told Swedish broadcaster SVT that the adults would be interrogated immediately.

But he said the youngsters would be taken into care and monitored to ensure they had not been radicalised.

One of the group is a widow, 48, who left Sweden to travel to Syria in 2011. She has two children with her.

Another of the women went to Syria when she was 19 years old.

"We have been waiting for Sweden to take them home," her family told SVT.

They said they paid smugglers to free her from the camp.

"It is better that they are brought to justice here than that they are allowed to sit in a refugee camp in Syria with an uncertain future," the family said.

Three of the women are from Stockholm and one is from western Sweden.

Sweden has been calling on the EU to introduce an international tribunal to prosecute foreign ISIS fighters, instead of sending them to their home nations.

Focusing on returning orphans of ISIS recruits, Sweden repatriated seven youngsters from Al Hol last year.

Last month, Swedish authorities went to the camp to interview the daughter-in-law of one of the most wanted ISIS women, Fatiha Mejjati, known as the Black Widow and notorious for the strict terrorism training camps she ran.

Her daughter-in-law, 25, who has not been identified, was captured last year by the Kurdish-led SDF after the battle for the last ISIS stronghold in Baghouz, north-east Syria, and is in the camp with her three children.