France repatriates five young children from camps in Syria

by Reuters
Friday, 15 March 2019 14:06 GMT

Internally displaced children run inside a refugee camp in Dana town after fleeing Palmyra, in northern Idlib province, Syria April 2, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

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France has repeated its position that adult citizens who had joined Islamic State abroad should stay where they were and face justice

PARIS, March 15 (Reuters) - France said on Friday it had brought back five young children from camps in Northern Syria, but repeated its position that adult citizens who had joined Islamic State abroad should stay where they were and face justice.

The children were either orphans or unaccompanied in the camps, the foreign ministry said in a statement. It did not give any details on their links to France.

Western nations have been wrestling with how to handle suspected militants and their families seeking to return from combat zones in Iraq and Syria, as well as those in detention, as Islamic State teeters on the verge of defeat.

French government policy had been to refuse taking back fighters and their wives. But officials say U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that he was pulling troops out of Syria is forcing a rethink and there are still no signs of a clear way forward.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and John Irish; editing by Richard Lough and Andrew Heavens)

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