France repatriates women and children from Syria

France says it has repatriated dozens of women and children from Syria.

The adults were among French nationals that went voluntarily to territories — in the Iraqi-Syria area — that were at the time controlled by the so-called Islamic State.  

Many of their children were born in these territories.

They had been held in jihadist prison camps in northeast Syria. 

The group, consisting of 15 women and 40 children, arrived at 3:30 am in Villacoublay, near Paris, on Thursday.

According to a security source, among those present were 14 mothers, a young woman without children, and 40 children, seven of whom are orphans. The women present were between 19 and 42 years of age.

“The minors have been handed over to the services responsible for child support and will be subject to medical and social monitoring. The adults have been handed over to the competent judicial authorities”, read a press release from France’s foreign affairs ministry.

This represents the country’s largest repatriation operation of its kind in three months. Sixteen women and 35 children were repatriated on 5 July.

“France thanks the local authorities in northeastern Syria for their cooperation, which made this operation possible”, added the ministry. 

Around 300 French children who have lived in terrorist-controlled territories have returned to France, 77 of whom by repatriation, as reported earlier this month by French justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti.

The matter at hand is a particularly sensitive topic in France, a country afflicted by a string of jihadist attacks, most notably those in Paris and its suburbs on 13 November 2015, where 130 people were killed.

Under pressure from the families of these jihadist women detained in harsh conditions in prison camps, France has carried out such repatriations on a case-by-case basis.

File source

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