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Two children of jihad knock on Belgium’s door

Their mothers invoke the insecurity of their detention camp to ask Foreign Affairs to repatriate them.

Max HELLEFF

Max HELLEFF

Their mothers invoke the insecurity of their detention camp to ask Foreign Affairs to repatriate them.

From our correspondent, Max Helleff (Brussels) – Belgium is once again in a delicate situation when it comes to the Syrian issue. Two of her nationals, a 51-year-old mother and her 30-year-old daughter, detained today in the Roj camp (Syrian Kurdistan), have just sent her an emergency repatriation request for their three children.

“It is panic at the Roj camp, at least for the Belgian women who are there”, explained to the Morgen and at Evening the humanist deputy Georges Dallemagne, a connoisseur of the file. “The (women’s) tent burned (accidentally). They were able to be rescued and relocated to another tent, but they are very shocked. They also say that the level of violence has increased. In any case, the panic is such that they demand that Belgium repatriate their three children as soon as possible, regardless of their personal fate. ” The same deputy forwarded a request in this direction to Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès. Without official reaction so far.

Access the requests of the supporters of jihad, supporters of Daesh and supposed sympathizers of the terrorists who struck Brussels in the heart of March 22, 2016? The question has not finished being debated. Foreign Affairs has so far excluded the repatriation of Belgians detained in the camps, on the grounds that they fought in the ranks of the Islamic State or other Islamist groups active in Syria and Iraq.

But what about the children? In February 2020, after many legal procrastinations, a court gave the Belgian state time to obtain the signatures of the mothers of the children so that they authorize their departure from the camps. But there was no way these women could return home. The then Foreign Minister, the French-speaking liberal Philippe Goffin, refused to let them escape their sentence on the grounds that the children need them.

Last December, a 9-year-old boy landed alone in Brussels, without his mother. This is precisely one of the two women who are now asking for the repatriation of the children. His family are a boy born in 2016 and a girl born in 2017 from a union with a Swiss jihadist now held in a Kurdish prison. These toddlers, who were born in the caliphate of Daesh, today live in the promiscuity of the Roj camp. To make matters worse, the covid was invited to the tents.

Belgium has changed its position on the Syrian issue in recent weeks, under pressure from several opposition deputies who have pointed out the extreme precariousness and violence reigning in certain camps. “The Al-Hol camp – about a hundred kilometers from the Roj camp – has become the new capital of the Islamic State,” Georges Dallemagne told the House. “It is an extremely dangerous cauldron, both for the local population and for our own safety.” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo agreed while deeming it necessary to find a solution for the children, who could become “the terrorists of tomorrow”.

He specified that “the National Security Council has confirmed the process of repatriating the children”. The age limit is however set at 12 years. As for the situation of mothers still there (9 convicted and 4 under international arrest warrant), it will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. “If they have distanced themselves from IS, they can be repatriated,” added the head of government.


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