Syria: France repatriates 35 children and 16 women detained in camps

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By Redaction Reform with AFP

France on Tuesday, July 5, announced the first massive repatriation of mothers with their French children who were in jihadist prison camps.

This is the first such massive repatriation to France of children and mothers since the fall in 2019 of the “caliphate” of Islamic State (IS), from which especially the very deadly attacks on 13 November 2015 were planned. France, whose trial has just ended. On Tuesday, July 5, France on Tuesday repatriated 35 minors and 16 mothers present in jihadist prison camps in Syria since the fall of IS, in response to a repeated request from NGOs and families saying they hope for an end to politics.inhuman” from “from case to case“. “France continued today to return to the national territory of 35 French minor children who were in the camps in northeastern Syria”announced the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release. “This operation also includes the return of 16 mothers from the same camps”adds the Quai d’Orsay, which clarifies that the mothers have been handed over to the judicial authorities and the children to the child welfare service.

According to the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecution Service, seven of the 35 minors are unaccompanied children. As for the 16 women aged 22 to 39, “four had already given their consent for their children to be returned in recent months” and “12 returned with their children”. All have French citizenship “except for two of those who have French children”, specifies PNAT in a press release. Eight were remanded in custody “in the execution of a search warrant, eight are the subject of an arrest warrant”, adds the same source. A minor was also remanded in custody, according to a source with knowledge of the case.

“The altar of public opinion”

The announcement of the repatriation was welcomed by the “collective of united families”, which brings together families of Frenchmen who have traveled to the Iraqi-Syrian zone and who had recently asked President Emmanuel Macron to “begin its second period“ind repatriationall French childrenHeld in Syria. In a press release published on Tuesday, the collective states “to hope”That this last repatriation “signs the end of this absurd ‘case-by-case’ policy of sorting children, separating siblings and tearing children apart from their mothers”.

The 35 children who were repatriated on Tuesday during an operation that is currently unfiltered are added to the 126 children whose parents had joined territories taken over from Islamic State, which had already been repatriated to France since 2016. last repatriation, nearly 200 minors and 80 mothers remained in Kurdish-controlled camps in northeastern Syria. “A certain number of families remain in the area, whereas nothing justifies these children being deprived of their freedoms and their lives sacrificed on the kiln of public opinion”believes in turn Martin Pradel, family lawyer still in Syria.

“Inhuman and degrading treatment”

In 2019, nearly seven out of ten French people were against the return of jihadist children, according to an Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting survey for France Info and Le Figaro. The issue of the fate of the children of jihadists has been invited for three years in the political debate in France, where lawyers, parliamentarians and NGOs regularly call on the French authorities to repatriate them. In particular, a famous French neuropsychiatrist, Boris Cyrulnik, called on President Emmanuel Macron in January to repatriate them, as well as their mothers, given that they are on the spot. “-one threatens for our safety“.

By the end of April, rights defender Claire Hédon had called on the government to continue with the repatriation. “asap“, Of all the French children kept in the camps in northeastern Syria. That same month, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child considered France’s refusal to repatriate these children “Violated their right to life, as well as their right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment“. In the background is also the issue of deradicalization.

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