Jihadists: Belgium repatriated 16 children and six mothers from Syria
Belgium has repatriated from a camp in northeast Syria under Kurdish control 16 children of jihadists and six mothers, all of Belgian nationality, in a Defense plane which landed overnight from Monday to Tuesday. A judicial source confirmed to AFP information given by several Belgian media.
All the children are under 12 years old and were exfiltrated with these six women from the Al-Hol camp to cross the Iraqi border by road before boarding this Belgian plane in Erbil (Iraq), underlined the same source.
These mothers have already been sentenced in Belgium
According to French-language radio-television RTBF, these mothers have already been sentenced in Belgium, in particular for participating in the activities of a terrorist group, and they were brought to justice upon their arrival, while the children had to undergo medical examinations before being sent. be entrusted to the youth protection services.
“Last night took place the last phase of an operation intended to repatriate from Syria 16 Belgian children accompanied by mothers of Belgian nationality”, indicated the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office in a press release. “The Defense flight landed tonight at 1:30 a.m.,” he added, inviting a press conference in the morning in Brussels for more details.
This is the main operation of its kind ever organized by Belgium since the fall of the Islamic State (IS) group in 2019, which led to the arrest of hundreds of women and children of all nationalities held in detention in camps controlled by Kurdish forces.
In March 2021, the day after a green light from the anti-terrorist services, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo had promised to “do everything” to repatriate from these camps children under the age of 12 whose Belgian parentage is proven.
Ocam, the Belgian body responsible for analyzing the terrorist threat, had ruled that children and mothers who stayed in these camps require “permanent monitoring”, which is “much easier” to ensure on Belgian soil. In July 2021, a first major operation under the aegis of the Belgian government made it possible to repatriate ten children and six mothers who were detained in the Syrian camp of Roj.
Belgium, along with France, is one of the European countries that saw the largest number of foreign fighters leave after the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011. From 2012, more than 400 Belgians left to fight there in the ranks of jihadist organizations. .