Hundreds of French Jihadists Seek Repatriation from Syria

One of the two detained French women who fled the Islamic State group's last pocket in Syria sit with her children while speaking to a AFP reporter at al-Hol camp for displaced people in the al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria on February 17, 2019. - In the past two months, …

Following the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, French authorities estimate there to be over French 600 men and women in the area.

The French state services estimate that there could be as many as 300 men, 300 women and another 500 children, all French citizens, waiting to be repatriated from former Islamic State-controlled territories Le Point reports.

“No one has ever imagined that one day it would be necessary to repatriate all of this small world,” one senior official said, and added, “As a result, we are forced to beg delays to get organised.”

The unnamed official went on to add that the situation was “catastrophic” and that “Public opinion is not ready, neither are the central services nor the communities.”

France, like many other European countries, has been called on by forces in Syria to take back Islamic State foreign fighters following the U.S. withdrawal from the area.

Some countries have so far refused to take in fighters, including in the United Kingdom, where jihadi bride Shamima Begum had her citizenship revoked by Home Secretary Sajid Javid earlier this week.

Begum, who ran to Syria to join the Islamic State in 2015, was featured in a number of media interviews requesting to be allowed to the return to Britain with her newborn child, who she named after an Islamic warlord.

Reports have also claimed that Britain could be seeing a trend of jihadi brides attempting to return to the country as at least twelve women in the past week alone have turned up to refugee camps in Northern Syria.

The hundreds of returning jihadists in France would add to the hundreds of Islamic radicals set to be released from prison by the end of this year.

France’s Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet said last June that out of the 450 radicals set to be released from prison around 30 who are considered terror threats will be released this year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)




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