- Title: 'They want to hand themselves in, but to whom?' - mother of freed IS detainees
- Date: 16th October 2019
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (OCTOBER 16, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Dutch) MOTHER OF GIRL WHO WAS IN CUSTODY IN SYRIA AFTER JOINING ISLAMIC STATE, FATIHA, SAYING: "Of course, this destroys me, of course, because the Belgian state had the chance to bring them back. For two years, two years, they knew where they were and for two years, they had the chance to bring them back. Now I don't even know where my grandchildren are and where my daughters are. Yes, I don't sleep anymore. I keep thinking of them. Eighty percent of my thoughts are only about them." FATIHA ENTERING JUDICIAL BUILDING VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF TRIBUNAL
- Embargoed: 30th October 2019 14:39
- Keywords: Mother Kurdish camp women Belgian Turkey Syria children incursion offensive Belgium
- Location: BRUSSELS AND NEAR ANTWERP, BELGIUM / AIN ISSA, SYRIA
- City: BRUSSELS AND NEAR ANTWERP, BELGIUM / AIN ISSA, SYRIA
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA003B1CKYMF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Belgian woman, whose six grandchildren, daughter and daughter-in-law were in custody in the Ain Issa camp in Syria, said on Wednesday (October 16) they were now "somewhere in the desert".
Kurdish officials have said almost 800 people fled that camp after the Turkish offensive into northern Syria targeted the area.
The women joined Islamic State in Syria at its height and surrendered to Kurdish forces in 2017. They and their children arrived in Ain Issa in late 2017 after the jihadists lost their base in Syria's Raqqa city, where they lived. They said they spent two months in prison before being sent to a camp in the northeast.
Fatiha, the mother of Bouchra Abouallal, had intended to lodge a court case against the Belgian state to force them to repatriate her relatives. Last year, a judge ordered Belgium to return the two women and the children they had with militants. But the state fought the case, fearing it would set a precedent, and won an appeal in February.
Fatiha said she was angry at the state which had an opportunity to bring the family back before Turkish forces attacked Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria last week.
European states are trying to fast-track a plan to move thousands of foreign Islamic State militants out of Syrian prison camps and into Iraq, after the outbreak of fresh conflict in Syria raised the risk of jihadists escaping or returning home, diplomats and officials have told Reuters.
But Fatiha said her daughter and daughter-in-law were not trying to escape and would hand themselves in - if they knew who to.
(Production Christian Levaux, Bart Biesemans, Hortense de Roffignac, Tara Oakes)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None