Germany and Finland announced on Sunday that they had repatriated 23 of their nationals, women and children, from Syria, some of whom have been criminally investigated for alleged belonging to the ISIS terrorist group.
“I am very relieved that yesterday we were able to repatriate 12 more children and three mothers from camps in northeast Syria,” said Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, adding that it is not legally possible to repatriate children without their mothers.
More than 9,000 foreign women and children are still being held in the al-Hol and Roj camps in northeastern Syria, where suspected ISIL family members and sympathizers are housed.
“The fundamental rights of children interned in al-Hol camps can only be safeguarded by being returned to Finland,” said the Finnish Foreign Ministry, adding that it had brought home six children and two adult mothers.
The decision has previously caused tension in the Finnish government. The opposition warns that bringing home citizens with ISIS connections is a security threat.