Once again, there an international debate arose on the topic of repatriating around 900 children of ISIS fighters, remaining in northeastern Syria.
the repatriation has become a humanitarian dilemma with no unified international solutions. The minors are locked in miserable circumstances in Syrian displacement camps.
The legal status is quite clear: The majority of them are EU citizens, many of them lost their parents in the fighting.
One example is the French-born girl Taymia, 7, who was on the verge of dying when not receiving urgent medical care. France sent a medical jet and flew her to Paris for treatment, leaving behind her a mother, two brothers and a twin sister. Her mother, recognizing that her choice to join the ISIS meant that the French authorities did not want her back, gave up custody of her daughter so she could leave. This humanitarian action by French authorities was only possible, as Human Rights Watch started a campaign promoting the well-being of the little girl. It also serves as a proof that EU countries can repatriate their citizens, but only after facing public pressure.
Endangering Physical and Mental Health
“Why couldn’t France take the entire family?” Letta Tayler from Human Rights Watch asked.
Human rights groups and civil organizations said that leaving the children in Syria threatens their mental and physical health and risks their indoctrination with Islamic State ideology.
There are shortages of food and clean water, infectious diseases are rampant. Nine children with an EU-citizenship died recently, due to preventable diseases, human rights activists argue.
Some countries such as Russia, Kosovo, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have repatriated many of their minors, while most Western governments have been reluctant to take children of European origins.
According to officials in the self-administration of north and east Syria, there are more than 1000 foreign ISIS fighters in the prisons of the Syrian Democratic Forces, SDF.
The officials confirmed that more than 13,000 women and children of ISIS families are detained in camps controlled by the SDF in north Syria.
Those people are not only a heavy burden for the self-administration, but also are time bombs that might explode at any time, especially with increasing cases of rebellion and disobedience, in addition to assassination attempts against those who refuse to obey them.
Iraq is not an Example
Several local and international news outlets have reported that the SDF sent more than 150 Iraqi and foreign ISIS fighters to Baghdad, according to an agreement that includes a total of 502 fighters. Those fighters had escaped to Syria from Iraq after the ISIS defeat in Iraq’s Mosul. However, EU governments refuse to repatriate their citizens who had fought in Syria, pretexting that no field investigation was carried out, and there are no certified documents that could prove their identity. In this context, reliable sources confirm to MENA Research and Study Center that the real pretext is that EU countries do not recognize the SDF as a “government” and there are no diplomatic relations between the two sides.