A class for children of jihadists imprisoned with their mothers in Syria – rts.ch

In the Ghwayran prison in Hassaké in northeastern Syria, several hundred women, members of the Islamic State group, are detained with their children. A few months ago, a class was opened to try “to teach these children human values”, testifies the person in charge of the center at the microphone of RTS.

The Ghwayran prison in Hassaké is at the end of a small road next to a landfill. Pushing a heavy metal door, we discover a small courtyard. There are some drawings on the wall which have already started to fade, a small swimming pool… without water and a swing.

Every morning, around 9:00, seventy children come out of the cells where they are held with their mothers to join a center built inside the prison.

Girls and boys from all over the world – from Tunisia, France, Morocco or Turkey are gathered there, depending on their age, to learn a little Arabic or English. “It is very difficult, because each child comes from a different country,” says Solin, one of the teachers, on Thursday on the RTS program Tout un monde. Some speak Arabic well, but others not at all.”

And to add: “So we have to wait for them to learn a few words in Arabic to be able to communicate with them.

conflict of loyalty

After school, these children are entitled to recreation in the yard before being reunited with their mothers in the cells, where the heat is crushing and hygiene is rudimentary. The women detained in this prison are considered by the Kurdish authorities to be the most radical. Some refuse to let their children participate in the activities offered.

We try to teach children human values: to love each other. Sometimes they still call us ‘kouffar’, mean

Dina, the center manager

“One of our biggest challenges is dealing with mothers, says center manager Dina. We try to teach children human values: to love each other. Sometimes they still call us ‘kuffar’, out of disbelief.”

Because in the evening they return with their mothers to the cells. “Their mothers tell them not to trust us because we are unfaithful. We do our best to bond with these children, kiss them, cuddle them. We push them to express their feelings.”

The center manager and teachers asked to have their first names changed because the previous team had been subjected to Daesh threats. Evidence that cells of the terrorist organization are still present in the region.

>> Read again: Minors still held in the Syrian prison were attacked and taken over

Appeal to the international community

The local authorities are therefore calling on all affected countries to get their nationals back as soon as possible. “Local families, former members of Daesh, Syrians, we are obliged to take care of them and help them find a place in society,” said Abou Ali Najeb, one of the leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Arab – Kurdish alliance. which controls northeastern Syria.

All those who came from Europe or Africa, we have to take care of them too, but we don’t have enough financial means

Abou Ali Najeb, one of the leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces

And to complete: “All those who came from Europe or Africa, we have to take care of that too, but we don’t have enough financial means. It is their countries of origin that must be responsible for them. But for now, Europe, The UN or human rights organizations have done nothing.”

Among them, nearly 10,000 children from 57 different countries were born there or taken to Syria or Iraq by their fathers, their mothers, members of the Islamic State group.

A month ago, for the first time, France repatriated jihadist mothers with their children from Syria after years of rejection. As for Switzerland, the country continues to take a hard line on the repatriation of its citizens with children.

Celine Martelet/vajo

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