Of these 225 minors currently in France, 217 remained in the Iraqi-Syrian zone, eight in Afghanistan or Yemen, and two-thirds are under ten years old.
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France is currently hosting 225 minors who have remained in camps run by jihadist families in the Middle East, Éric Dupond-Moretti announced on Wednesday, October 5, before the Senate’s Legal Commission. According to Minister of Justice “most returned with their parents who had been expelled from Turkey, others returned spontaneously,” while 77 minors were repatriated by the French authorities.
Of these 77 repatriated minors, 71 came from Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan and seven came from Iraq. These minors were repatriated in seven consecutive operations between March 15, 2019 and October 4, 2022. The largest operation took place on July 5, when 35 minors were repatriated from Syria.
Of these 225 minors, eleven are currently being prosecuted for “terrorist criminal association”, adds the keeper of the seal. They are the oldest repatriated children who are now adults. 22 of these children are orphans and 77 were born in the area.
“It’s good to combine humanity and pragmatism. Everyone has had traumatic experiences.”Eric Dupond Moretti
Éric Dupond-Moretti estimates that there are still 200 jihadist wives in the area. Last July, Laurent Nunez, then coordinator for intelligence and counter-terrorism, indicated that there were still about a hundred women and almost 250 children in the Syrian camps.
On September 14, 2022, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) condemned France for failing to adequately assess requests for repatriation of families of jihadists in Syria. “We have no obligation to return, the ECtHR says nothing else”, explained the minister. “In light of this verdict, it is necessary that if denied, we allow an appeal.”