France repatriates 51 women and children from IS camps in Syria

French authorities today repatriated 51 women and children from the former Islamic State-controlled areas in Syria, according to a statement from the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office.

It’s the single largest return of women and children to France from camps in northeastern Syria since the territorial defeat of the Islamic State group in March 2019. France saw more of its citizens leave to join IS than any other country in Europe.

Today’s group comprises 16 women, aged 22 to 39, and 35 minors, seven of whom are coming to France unaccompanied by adults. All but two of the women in the group are French citizens. Twelve women have returned with their children and four of the women previously agreed to the return of their children, according to the prosecutor’s statement.

Eight women have been taken into custody for questioning and the other eight have been detained on arrest warrants. The children have been placed in the care of the child protective services attached to the Versailles Judicial Court.

One of the 35 minors is in police custody on suspicion of participating in activities of a terrorist criminal enterprise, according to the prosecutor’s statement. The minor will shortly turn 18, the statement says.

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