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Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the repatriated women with links to the so-called Islamic State will have to 'answer for their acts'Image: Boris Roessler/dpa/picture alliance

Germany repatriates women and children with links to 'IS'

October 7, 2021

Several women with ties to the group are being held in custody after returning to Germany. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the women "will have to answer for their acts." The children will be placed in protective care.


Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said late Wednesday that eight German women who had joined the so-called Islamic State (IS) terror group have been repatriated to Germany from Syria.

Twenty-three children had also been brought back to Germany.

Maas said: "The children are not responsible for their situation ... the mothers will have to answer for their acts."

Authorities will investigate repatriated women

The aircraft carrying the women and children landed at Frankfurt International Airport late Wednesday night. 

Upon arrival most of the women were taken into custody and are under criminal investigation. 

Security sources told Germany's DPA news agency that six of the women had arrest warrants issued against them.

Germany had arranged the repatriation along with Denmark, which received three women and 14 children as part of the mission, according to Maas.

The German foreign minister said it was important to do everything possible for the returned children "to live in safety and in a good environment."

The Foreign Ministry said the children are in "particular need of protection." Youth welfare authorities are checking where the children could be placed. Some still have legal guardians in Germany. 


Where were the women in Syria?

Before returning to Germany the women and children had been held at a detention camp in Roj in northeastern Syria.

Last month it was reported that two children were dying each week in the Roj and al-Hol detention camps. Families of IS fighters were taken to these facilities after the terror group's final stand in in Baghouz, which signaled its collapse.

Western governments are grappling with the question of what to do with citizens and their families who left to join 'IS' since the group began to fall in March 2019.  

There has been a level of reluctance to accept the return of people who had been involved with the terror group, largely due to concerns around the potential threat they pose and negative public opinion.

In Germany, several previous returnees have already stood trial on suspicion of terrorism and other charges.

kb/jsi (AFP, dpa)

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