EU court tells France to reconsider repatriation requests in NE Syria

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – On Wednesday, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg ordered France to reconsider requests of repatriation of two French women held in camps in northeastern Syria.

 “It is incumbent on the French government to resume the examination of the applications as soon as possible,” the Grand Chamber of the ECHR said.

The two French women travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State Organization (ISIS), and there they gave birth to three children.

Parents of the women resorted to the court after France refused to allow their daughters and grandsons back in France, claiming that they are exposed to inhumane and degrading treatment there.

France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs retaliated against the decision handed down by the ECHR, saying, “The court also found that France’s international commitments to protect human rights do not obligate us to repatriate individuals held in northeastern Syria but only to review these requests once again.”

According to France 24, rights groups say 75 French women and 160 children are still stranded in camps in Syria.

ISIS lost its final stronghold in Syria in March 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) along with the US-led Global Coalition announced, after fierce battles in the town of Baghouz in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor, bringing an end to the so-called caliphate declared by the terrorist group in 2014.

After Baghouz, thousands of ISIS fighters were transferred to prisons, while their families were transferred to Hawl and Roj camps in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) areas.

The issue of ISIS families, hail from more than 60 nationalities, constitutes an ongoing and challenging issue on the non-internationally recognized AANES, which repeatedly demands the concerned countries to repatriate their national.

The AANES also calls on the international powers to provide support for establishing rehabilitation centers and help in tackling the security situation in the facilities were foreign nationals stay.

Despite these repeated calls the majority of countries, including those participating in the Global Coalition, refuse to repatriate their nationals.

In May, Emily Konecki, speaking from a camp in the far northeast Syria, said she wanted to go back to France to be reunited with her three children, who were repatriated by France a year and a half ago.

Reporting by Saya Muhammad