Iraqi authorities detained 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected members of Daesh after the group was expelled from one of its last strongholds in the country, security and aid workers reported.
The Iraqi army and intelligence officers said many wives come from Turkey and former Soviet states such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Russia as well as from France and Germany.
The women and their children are held in an Iraqi camp south of Mosul.
Most of the women and children arrived at the camp south of Mosul on 30 August.
An Iraqi intelligence officer said the agency was in the process of verifying their nationalities, especially since many women no longer have original documents.
A relief worker said the group was the largest group of foreigners linked to the organisation held by the Iraqi authorities since it began to expel Daesh from Mosul and other areas in northern Iraq last year.
Thousands of foreigners are fighting with the group in Iraq and Syria.
“We are holding the families of Daesh under strict security procedures and we are waiting for the government’s orders on how to deal with them,” said Colonel Ahmad Al-Tai of the Nineveh Province Operations Command.
He added that when the women were questioned, it was clear that the militant group’s propaganda had misled them.
Reuters’ journalists said they saw hundreds of children and women sitting on infested mattresses in tents without air conditioning in what aid workers described as a “military site”.
A security officer said most of the women and their children had surrendered with their husbands to Kurdish Peshmerga forces near the northern city of Tal Afar.
The Peshmerga forces handed over the women and children to the Iraqi forces and detained the men who were all believed to be fighters.