Belgium takes back mothers and children from Syria

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BRUSSELS — Belgium’s judicial authorities stated on Tuesday they’ve repatriated six girls of Belgian citizenship who had been held in a Syrian detention camp for foreigners affiliated with Islamic State group extremists, together with 16 children.

The federal prosecutor’s workplace stated it’s the second repatriation operation of this type after the one which happened in July 2021, when Belgian authorities took back six mothers and 10 children.

Federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw advised a information convention that the children had been born between 2010 and 2019 and had been instantly separated from their mothers upon arrival on the Melsbroek Air Base.

“Among them is an orphan of a Belgian father,” he stated. “These children had been instantly taken into care by the competent youth providers and prosecutors.”

The switch from Syria was made doable by a call final 12 months by the Belgian governement to permit the return of mothers who clearly expressed the want to return, and who’ve clearly distanced themselves from extremist ideology.

Van Leeuw stated DNA checks had been carried out to correctly determine the hyperlink between the mothers and the children who returned Tuesday.

All the ladies on the most recent flight have been given sentences in Belgium of as much as 5 years in jail and had been arrested upon arrival. Their children will stay underneath medical commentary for some time.

“Then, an acceptable framework can be put in place on a case-by-case foundation,” Van Leeuw stated. “Everyone will perceive that it is very important respect the privateness of children and these round them, in order that … their integration can happen in all serenity.”

Federal police commissioner Marc De Mesmaeker stated the children had been escorted to Belgium in “the absolute best means.” He stated they had been accompanied by folks talking their language all through the disturbing journey and got meals, garments and toys.

Van Leeuw stated the repatriation operation, which was carried out in cooperation with native authorities, happened within the Roj Camp in northeast Syria. It is house to some 2,500 girls and children.

Van Leeuw stated there are a number of Belgian girls left in Syria, however not within the Roj camp. He estimated that between 10 and 15 Belgian males are in jail within the nation. Belgium shouldn’t be attempting to carry them back house.

Under the Belgian doctrine, returning children house is being accomplished for humanitarian causes. But repatriation operations of girls are additionally as a matter of nationwide safety because it’s simpler to observe individuals who have hung out in Syria when they’re on house soil.

Since the struggle in Syria started in 2011, a number of hundred Belgians have traveled to battle zones in Iraq and Syria to affix terror teams, Belgium has additionally been hit by a number of terror assaults up to now decade, together with suicide bombings in 2016 that killed 32 folks and wounded a whole bunch extra within the Brussels subway and airport.

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