Belgium looks to bring families of IS fighters back from Syria

Belgium looks to bring families of IS fighters back from Syria
Women in the Al-Hol camp in Syria. Credit: Belga

Belgium is looking into whether it can bring back the wives of ISIS fighters from Syria, Het Laatste Nieuws reported. In 2021, six women and ten children were repatriated, but it is not clear how many people will meet the requirements this time.

Last year Belgium for the first time ever returned women and children from a relief camp in Roj, near the Iraqi border. Women and children that were imprisoned in the Al-Hol prison camp couldn't be reached because it was considered too unsafe in the prison camp.

Yet Syrian Kurds who run the ramps have relocated several Belgian mothers and their children from Al-Hol to Roj. A Belgian research team visited them recently and questioned the mothers while taking DNA samples from the women and children to determine whether the children were actually born to Belgian parents.

Repatriation uncertain in 2022

It is not clear how many women and children will be eligible for repatriation in 2022 and when the process would start. During the last round of repatriation, at least four Belgian mothers and their children were staying in Al-Hol, although it is likely there would have been more.

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Belgian authorities are looking into whether more women and children meet the standards for repatriation. Six women were allowed back on 16 July 2021 and were taken into custody upon arrival. Two of them are currently in prison, while the other four have been formally charged.

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