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Children of British Daesh fighters to return to UK

November 22, 2019 at 11:59 am

Women who married Daesh members and their children, 26 March 2019 [Twitter]

The British government has launched the repatriation process for orphans of deceased British Daesh fighters. The move to return the three children to Britain from territory previously under the control of Daesh was confirmed by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today, a major breakthrough in what is a controversial issue in the country and Europe overall.

The co-chair of the Foreign Relations Committee in northern Syria, Dr Abdulkarim Omar, tweeted yesterday that the orphans were “handed over to a delegation representing the British foreign ministry.” Omar added that the “three British orphans were from ISIS [Daesh] parents.”

The repatriation of the children of British nationals who travelled to Syria to fight for Daesh comes after a lengthy debate about the ethics of such a move, particularly over fears that they could pose a security threat due to their time in the refugee camps in the war-torn country.

Raab, however, told British MPs last month that as long as such a security threat did not exist, the children should be returned to the UK. “These innocent, orphaned, children should never have been subjected to the horrors of war… We have facilitated their return home because it was the right thing to do. Now they must be allowed the privacy and given the support to return to a normal life.”

READ: Child refugees will be stranded in violence ridden camps when UK scraps reunification scheme

The British charity Save the Children has given its support to the move. It has estimated that at least 60 more such children are trapped in the camps in northern Syria.

The success of the campaign to bring the children to Britain is seen to be especially positive after Home Secretary Priti Patel, an avid opponent of the return of minors, and other ministers blocked a planned rescue operation for the children last month over “security concerns”.

READ: Over 29,000 children killed in Syria since 2011