Spain to bring back Spanish families from Islamic State camps in Syria

Thousands of foreigners including women and children had gone to Syria to live in Islamic State's so-called caliphate until 2019.

 A guard opens a door inside a prison that holds foreign prisoners, suspected of being part of the Islamic State, in Hasaka, Syria, January 7, 2020.  (photo credit: GORAN TOMASEVIC/REUTERS)
A guard opens a door inside a prison that holds foreign prisoners, suspected of being part of the Islamic State, in Hasaka, Syria, January 7, 2020.
(photo credit: GORAN TOMASEVIC/REUTERS)

Spain has decided to bring back several Spanish wives, widows and children of Islamic State fighters from detention camps in northeastern Syria, a government source said on Monday, confirming a report in El Pais newspaper.

Thousands of foreigners including women and children had gone to Syria to live in Islamic State's so-called caliphate until 2019, when US-backed Kurdish forces took the last pocket of Syrian territory from the jihadists.

Fleeing women and children were housed in overcrowded detention camps run by Kurdish authorities and international charities, who had pushed for repatriations due to rising violence and dire conditions in the camps.

The source said Spain planned to repatriate before the end of the year at least three women who had asked to return to their homeland and 13 children.

Prosecution in Spain

The women could face prosecution in Spain, while the children's situation will be studied on a case-by-case basis depending on their age, the source said.

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014. The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic ''Caliphate'' and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a st (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014. The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic ''Caliphate'' and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a st (credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

Repatriations have hit a record high in 2022, but more than 10,000 foreign women and children remain in the Al-Hol and Roj camps, Kurdish authorities have said.