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    Dutch-Belgian orphans repatriated from Syria

    Switzerland said it would repatriate all children of its Islamic State jihadist. Credit: © Belga

    Two Dutch-Belgian orphans of Islamic State fighters were amongst a group of fourteen others to have been flown into Europe from Syria on Monday, according to reports.

    A military airplane carrying two Dutch-Belgian children and twelve French orphans landed in a Paris airport on Monday.

    The orphans lived in the Ain Issa refugee camp in Syria, close to the country’s Turkish border, and were said to be in a “particularly vulnerable” situation.

    The two orphans are thought to be the children of a late Antillean-Dutch woman and a now-deceased Belgian Islamic State (IS) fighter, according to Dutch-speaking daily De Standaard.

    Dutch authorities were present when the airplane landed in Paris, and will reportedly entrust both children to a Dutch guardian.

    The French orphans will be handed over to social security services in the country.

    Around 250 children are thought to be still living in refugee camps and other locations across Syria, according to Reuters.

    In May, a group of academics signed an open letter calling for Belgium to honour a 2017 commitment to repatriate the orphans of all jihadist fighters. That year, a court ruling had obliged Belgium to repatriate all orphans under the age of ten.

    With the recent repatriations, France has now brought back 17 IS orphans from Syria.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times