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    Flanders draws up plan for children returning from caliphate

    A court has stripped a Syrian returnee of his Belgian nationality and handed him a heavy prison sentence. Credit: © Belga

    Flanders is currently drawing up a plan for children of fighters who left to undertake jihadist activities in Syria or in Iraq. De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws are reporting on Friday that particular attention is being paid to their support and integration on their return. With the fall of the Iraqi city of Mosul and the current siege in Raqqa, the last bastion of the organisation Islamic State in Syria, a wave of fighters who left to defend the caliphate may arrive in Europe. Potentially families will be amongst these.

    On the Belgian list of ‘foreign terrorist fighters’ moreover four minors in Syria or neighbouring conflict zones feature. In this document are 35 other children, either taken from Belgium by their parents or who were born to a Belgian fighter.

    Flanders is currently finalising its plan of action for these children. This should lead to collaboration with, amongst others, local task forces, the Organ for Coordination of Terrorist Threats, the various communes and support solutions already in existence. Besides security aspects, as alluded to above, particular attention will be paid to the support and integration of these youngsters.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times