Middle East

Iraq repatriates 188 children of ISIS fighters to Turkey

Iraq repatriated to Turkey 188 children of Turks accused of belonging to Islamic State, the judiciary said.

The move on Wednesday, May 29 follows the repatriation late last month of 84 children of Tajikistan nationals convicted by Iraqi courts of membership of ISIS or other jihadist groups.

Government officials from both countries and a representative from the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF were present at the handover in Baghdad airport, Reuters reported.

Some of those repatriated were adults who “had come of age” and served prison sentences in Iraq, where children as young as nine can be held legally responsible for crimes.

At least 1,100 children of ISIS fighters are believed to be in the Iraqi court system, while nearly 200 children as young as nine have been sentenced, according to a Reuters investigation.

The handover came after dozens of children were flown to Russia and after France and Germany repatriated the children of ISIS adherents detained in Iraq.

Earlier this month Kazakhstan brought home 231 of its citizens from Syria, including 156 children of ISIS fighters.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has urged countries to repatriate its citizens who are in detention camps in Syria, but with few exceptions many have been reluctant.

Around 1,000 suspected foreign ISIS fighters are in detention in northeast Syria, in addition to around 9,000 foreign women and children in camps there.

The autonomous administration in northeast Syria has called for an international court in northeast Syria to try ISIS members, but the U.S. says countries should repatriate their own citizens.

An education in Islamic State extremism

With reporting from AFP

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