Around 20 relatives of persons gone to Syria took part in a vigil today, with supporters, on Place de la Monnaie in Brussels, demanding that the government organize controlled repatriation of Belgian children and wives of Syrian fighters.
Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) Child Psychology Professor Gerrit Loots initiated this first watch. With Child Focus, Loots had recently visited about ten of these children held in the Rojava camp. Two more vigils are to follow in Antwerp and Kortrijk.
The group of mothers of youth gone to Syria took action to make their message heard. Its members demand a rapid and controlled return of young parents and their children who are in camps in Syria or Iraq, starting with the most fragile, given the difficult living conditions. They want them to be judged for their crimes, but before Belgian courts.
“My little sister went to Syria when she was 18 and is now 25 years old,” one of the participants explains. “She surrendered to the Kurds and is waiting to be directed to a camp in Syria. She has four children under the age of five.”
The children’s photos were displayed amidst candles, stuffed toys and flowers. The intense emotion was reflected on the mothers’ and sisters’ faces, who asked onlookers to read their leaflets and sign a petition.