Denmark evacuates ‘seriously wounded’ child of ISIS parents from Syria

Unicef said in May nearly 30,000 foreign children were in squalid Syrian displacement camps

Women and children wait to be screened after fleeing from the last pocket of ISIS territory outside Baghouz, 28 February 2019. Campbell MacDiarmid

Danish authorities have evacuated a “seriously wounded” child of captured ISIS fighters from Kurdish-controlled north-east Syria.

The Danish boy has been taken to another country for medical stabilisation and will eventually travel back to Denmark to be looked after by relatives, the country's foreign ministry said.

A delegation from Denmark crossed from Iraqi Kurdistan through the Semalka border into Syria, where the boy was handed to them.

“I am here today with a small team in order to conduct a medical evacuation of a seriously wounded Danish boy. The boy is in a stable condition but he certainly needs more fundamental medical treatment,” said Denmark’s Kristof Vifik in Syria.

“And I would very much like to thank the self-administration for their excellent co-operation in handling this difficult, humanitarian case,” he added.

The Kurdish-led administration in north-east Syria has been overwhelmed by the vast amounts of people to pour out of the last remnants of ISIS territory.

Thousands of children of foreign fighters are said to be languishing in squalid, overcrowded displacement camps.

In May, Unicef estimated roughly 29,000 foreign children were in the camps, most of them under the age of 12.

“They live in appalling conditions amid constant threats to their health, safety and well-being. They have little family support: While most are stranded with their mothers or other caregivers, many are completely alone,” Unicef executive director Henrietta Fore said last month.

“These children must be treated primarily as victims, not perpetrators. Every decision regarding them, including on repatriation, must take into consideration the best interest of each child and be in full compliance with international legal standards.”

Countries are split over how to handle foreign fighters and their family in Syria, with most only repatriating a handful of children so far.

In late May, Uzbekistan took back 148 ISIS women and children.

Kurdish authorities have warned they are struggling to handle the vast amount of ISIS members they have in custody and have pleaded for help.