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Since the fall of the last Isis stronghold in early 2019, tens of thousands of former IS fighters and their families have been interned in camps in North eastern Syria. Among them, there are some 11,000 foreigners, including hundreds of European fighters, as well as many women and children. Few European countries are willing to repatriate them.
They are detained in the Al Hol and the Roj camps in the north-east of the country. So far, just a few states have flown citizens back home - where in most cases, they face trial. While some Asian countries have repatriated hundreds of suspected fighters and their relatives, Western European governments have been very reluctant to repatriate their nationals, including the children born in the territories formerly controlled by the Islamic State. So the vast majority of women and children remain stuck in the camps, As do the men, whose conditions are even worse. Crime and health concerns add to the burden, including hundreds of COVID cases. NGOS are urging foreign countries to repatriate their nationals, also because the conditions in the camps are the ideal breeding ground for more extremism.
Reporter Burkhard Birke/ Presenter: Ineke Mules