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France Repatriates Young Children from Camps in N. Syria

France Repatriates Young Children from Camps in N. Syria

Friday, 15 March, 2019 - 18:15
Internally displaced Syrian children play at a refugee camp near the Bab al-Salam crossing, across from Turkey's Kilis province, on the outskirts of the northern border town of Aazaz, Syria. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
France repatriated young children from camps in Syria, amid a government debate over the fate of the ISIS group’s foreign fighters and their families.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the French children were brought back Friday from camps in northeastern Syria. The children are all 5 or younger, and some are orphans.

The ministry added the children will get medical and psychological treatment.

It did not give any details on their links to France.

The statement revealed the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces made the handover possible, without elaborating. The SDF is working to defeat ISIS in its last bastion in Syria.

Western nations have been wrestling with how to handle suspected militants and their families seeking to return from combat zones in Iraq and Syria, as well as those in detention.

France on repeated its position that adult citizens who had joined ISIS abroad should stay where they were and face justice.

French government policy had been to refuse taking back fighters and their wives. But officials say US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pulling troops out of Syria is forcing a rethink and there are still no signs of a clear way forward.

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