French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has ruled out the return of any adult Jihadists from Syria but has opened the door to allowing their children to come to France.
Minister Le Drian stated that he was interested in repatriating children from Syria but reaffirmed that Franc would not be helping any adult Jihadists to come to France. Only orphans, unaccompanied minors and children whose mother lets them, would be welcomed in France.
So far, according to a report from broadcaster CNews, 35 minors have been returned to France from Syria, while an estimated 200 children remain in the country in camps in Northern Syria run by Kurdish forces along with 80 French women.
Minister Delegate for Citizenship Marlène Schiappa spoke on Tuesday regarding the situation in the camps saying, “It breaks my heart to think of these children but there is also a question of security in France that must be taken into account.”
Hundreds of French Jihadists Seek Repatriation from Syria https://t.co/t1G1zsY4QM
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 24, 2019
Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have called on France to do more to repatriate children of Jihadists being held in northeastern Syria, with some claiming that children are being used as “human shields” during fighting between Islamic State members and Kurdish forces.
Adeline Hazan, vice-president of Unicef-France, spoke out about conditions at the Al-Sinaa prison, which had been recently attacked by Islamic State extremists and is said to house 600 children between the ages of 12 and 18, at least a dozen of which are said to be French.
“There is no serious argument against their return,” Patrick Baudoin, honorary president of the International Federation for Human Rights, said and added, “These children, held in appalling conditions, are not guilty but victims. International conventions oblige France to protect them. As for women, the French justice system is fully competent to try them.”
France is not the only country facing the issue of repatriating Jihadists being held in Syrian prison camps. Sweden has repatriated several women and their children in recent months, leading to some being charged with war crimes and being separated from their children after arriving in the country.
Earlier this year, Swedish prosecutors charged one Islamic State woman with war crimes and international law violations after she was accused of using her own son as a child soldier in Syria.
French Study Finds Jihadist Terrorists Very Likely to Re-Offend https://t.co/F9d3ZBrgK1
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 23, 2020