The government is to bring back to Spain the Spanish wives and children of ISIS fighters, who have been held in prison camps in Syria for more than 3.5 years. However, the how and when will remain secret for the time being due to the very unsafe situation in Syria.
These are four Spanish wives and sixteen children of ISIS jihadists. Three of the women and now widowed since their husbands died. The fourth husband has been captured by the Syrian democratic forces and is currently in a Syrian-Kurdish jail. The women and children have been staying in the Syrian camps of Al Hol and Al Roj. They have been there for more than three and a half years. An international arrest warrant was issued against the four women since September 2019 by the Audiencia Nacional.
How and when to repatriate remains secret within the Spanish government
El País writes that the Spanish government has decided to bring these women and children back to Spain. However, Moncloa says that realising this is still difficult. For example, no exact date has been set when this will happen. But when this date is decided, it will remain secret. The reason for this is that it is very unstable in this area and bomb attacks still take place regularly. According to the Spanish media, it is not yet clear to what extent the women are willing to go back to Spain.
Carola García is a researcher on terrorism at the Royal Institute Elcano. She says that the Spanish government intends to plan this repatriation before the end of the year. The safety and conditions of these women and children have deteriorated in a short period of time. Therefor, the Spanish government would like this to take place as soon as possible.
Repatriate only solution to bring Spanish citizens to safety
A State Department official visited the women and children in the prison camps last summer to discuss with them the terms of repatriation. The government’s decision to bring Spanish citizens to Spain comes at the same time as repatriation actions by the French and German governments.
All these repatriation actions are the result of the American call to return their citizens from prison camps to their own country as soon as possible. According to the US, this is the only sustainable solution to bring these people to safety, a spokesman for the US government recently reported.
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