Denmark wants to repatriate children of Syrian jihadists

Denmark wants to repatriate children of Syrian jihadists
2 min read
The humanitarian situation and the radicalisation of children in al-Hol camp recently prompted the Danish government, which has previously opposed any intervention, to change its approach.
The humanitarian situation and the radicalisation of children in the camps recently prompted the Danish government to intervene [Getty]

Denmark announced on Tuesday that it plans to repatriate 19 Danish children of Syrian jihadists, and three of their mothers, because of the poor conditions in the camps they are being held in.

The decision was made after a report by a commission studying the conditions for repatriation.

"The situation as regards humanitarian security in the camps has deteriorated. Particularly in the al-Hol camp, where there is a shortage of food and medical care," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told a press conference.

The al-Hol camp, in Hasakeh governorate of northeastern Syria, holds suspected relatives of Islamic State (IS) group fighters.

The humanitarian situation and the radicalisation of children in the camps recently prompted the Danish government, which has previously opposed any intervention, to change its approach.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen reaffirmed in March that parents of Danish nationals in the camp would not be candidates for repatriation, so the move announced Tuesday to repatriate three mothers marks a policy change.

These women "should be punished as severely as possible upon their return to Denmark," said Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup.

According to Danish intelligence services, the mothers would face prosecution for "terrorism" upon their return to the Scandinavian kingdom.

According to the Danish police intelligence service, PET, at least 160 people from Denmark have gone to fight in Syria or Iraq.

Around a third of them have been killed in battle, 32 are still there and around a half have returned to Denmark or gone to live elsewhere.

The jihadist network is considered by PET to be the greatest threat to Denmark's security.

Elsewhere in Europe, Belgium announced in March its intention to "do everything possible" to repatriate 30 Belgian children from Syria.

In December, Germany and Finland announced that they had repatriated 18 children and five women from northern Syria, some of whom face trials for belonging to the Islamic State group.