Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

First ISIS orphans returned to the UK as Germany announces similar repatriation

European nations like France, Denmark and Norway have already accepted children of ISIS fighters

Women line up for aid supplies at Al Hol camp in Hasakeh province, Syria. AP
Women line up for aid supplies at Al Hol camp in Hasakeh province, Syria. AP

Orphaned British children who were taken to ISIS territory in Syria have been returned home to Britain, while Germany announced similar repatriation plans.

The BBC reported the British children, who are all from one family, were asked to be brought back by the UK High Court. It is the first time unaccompanied British children have been returned from ISIS-held territory by the Foreign Office.

The children arrived in London and were reportedly happy after meeting with members of their family who had remained in the UK during the children’s ordeal.

The British children were brought back after they had been put under the protection and supervision of the court.

The return of the children comes after a complicated push and pull at the highest levels of the British government.

It was reported in October that British aid agencies were working to secure the return of dozens of children from areas formerly under the control of ISIS during a relative lull in fighting between the Syrian Kurds and Turkish forces in northern Syria.

However, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel blocked their return saying the children posed a possible security risk. She was at odds with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab who said the safety of the children should be prioritised.

On Thursday Mr Raab said the "innocent" minors should "never have been subjected to the horrors of war".

"We have facilitated their return home because it was the right thing to do,” he said. "Now they must be allowed the privacy and given the support to return to a normal life."

On Friday the German foreign ministry said Germany will repatriate a suspected member of ISIS and her children from a prison camp in northern Syria for the first time.

“We can confirm that three German children who were being held in northern Syria were able to travel to Iraq with their mother today. To our knowledge, all of them will travel on to Germany from there,” a foreign ministry source said.

The mother and her children have reportedly been held at the notorious Al Hol camp in northern Syria since December 2018.

The camp, which is run by the Kurdish YPG militia, hosts more than 70,000 refugees from Iraq and Syria.

German security sources believe that about 80 German ISIS members are still in Syrian camps or prisons.

Other nations such as France, Denmark, Norway and Kazakhstan have brought children home.

Updated: November 27, 2019 04:14 PM

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