The two nations claim to have repatriated 23 of their nationals, some of whom have been criminally investigated for alleged belonging to ISIL

Germany and Finland claim to have repatriated 23 of their nationals, women and children, from Syria, some of whom have been criminally investigated for alleged belonging to the ISIL (ISIS) group

“I am very relieved that yesterday we were able to return 12 more children and three mothers from camps in northeast Syria,” said Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement on Sunday

Maas said the returns are “humanitarian cases, particularly orphans and children who have been sick – cases where return was deemed particularly necessary and urgent”

The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had brought home six children and two adult mothers

“According to the constitution, the Finnish authorities are obliged to uphold the fundamental rights of Finnish children interned in the camps, as far as possible,” it said

“The fundamental rights of the children interned in the al-Hol camps can only be safeguarded by being returned to Finland”

According to Helsinki, there are still more than 9000 foreign women and children, two thirds of them children, are being held in the al-Hol and Roj camps in northeastern Syria, where suspected ISIL family members and sympathizers are housed

Many European nations have refused to repatriate their nationals from the camps because of the security threats

According to German media reports, the three repatriated German women are between 21 and 38 years old and the children between two and 12 years old. The group lived in a refugee camp under Kurdish control

The three women were “wives of jihadists” of the ISIL group and “in very poor health,” said the spokesman for the Kurdish government’s external relations office, Kamal Akif, to the AFP news agency

One of the German women was arrested on her arrival in Frankfurt, according to a statement from the anti-terror prosecutor

Aside from alleged affiliation with ISIL, the 21-year-old woman identified as Leonora M is suspected of having used a young Yazidi woman as a slave

One survivor describes how she kept a secret notebook recording the abuses committed against her and others

After the group was evicted from the Yazidi areas in 2015, little was done to heal the minority’s wounds


World news – FI – Germany, Finland repatriate women and children from Syrian camps