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Germany repatriates 12 IS-linked citizens from Syria

October 6, 2022

The group included four women, seven children and a man who was brought to Syria when he was 11. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the adults in the group will have to "answer for their alleged actions."

A woman at the Roj camp in Syria
The women from the Roj camp were detained upon their arrival back in GermanyImage: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

The German government has repatriated several women in Syria suspected of supporting the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) along with their children, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced on Wednesday.

The operation involved four women, seven children and a young man who had been taken to Syria when he was 11 years old. All had been living in the Roj camp in northeastern Syria, which is largely under Kurdish control.

"I am especially relieved because the children are not responsible for their parents' fateful choices," Baerbock said, adding that they "are ultimately also victims of IS."

The five adults among the group were detained when they arrived back in Germany and will have to "answer for their alleged actions," she added.

An aerial view of the Roj camp
According to international NGO Save the Children, there are thousands of foreign-born children who remain at the Roj camp in SyriaImage: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

Few cases remaining

A total of 26 women and 76 children with suspected links to IS have been repatriated from Syria to Germany in recent years. Some have been tried and jailed for crimes committed during the war.

"I am relieved because this action has allowed us to close almost all the known cases," Baerbock said.

However, the German Foreign Office said there have been some instances where women in Syria have chosen not to return to Germany.

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zc/wd (dpa, AFP, AP)

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