Germany and Denmark have repatriated dozens of its nationals from the Roj detention camp in north-east Syria last night, making it the latest repatriation operation to be conducted by a European country.
Shortly before midnight yesterday, 23 children and their eight mothers landed at Frankfurt airport in Germany, while Denmark brought back 14 children and three women with the assistance of the United States military.
Upon the children's and women's arrival in their home countries, the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, stated that "the children are not responsible for their situation … the mothers will have to answer for their acts."
According to German federal prosecutors, three of the women who landed in Frankfurt were arrested, based on charges of taking the children to Syria against the will of their fathers and on accusations of being members of a foreign terrorist organisation.
Maas insisted that, while the mothers are guilty of fleeing to Syria, the children are "in particular need of protection." He described them as "mostly sick children or those with a guardian in Germany, as well as their brothers and sisters and their mothers."
Following the territorial and military defeat of the terror group, Daesh, in 2019, the group's surviving fighters were captured and detained in prisons, while their family members who were with them were taken to camps in north-east Syria where they are kept for an indefinite period of time. The largest of those camps are the Al-Hol and Roj camps, where conditions have been described as "dire".
While some have been released and pardoned after trials, many of the foreign nationals in the camps continue to wait for their home countries to repatriate them. That repatriation process has been slow, however, especially amongst European states which have been reluctant to bring them home due to the threats they would allegedly pose to national security.