France repatriates 40 children, 15 women from Syria: Foreign ministry

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France said on Thursday it carried out a new operation to return French nationals, 40 children and 15 women, from Kurdish-run camps in northeastern Syria.

The children were handed over to childcare services and will have medical and social follow-ups, the foreign ministry said in a statement, while the women would be transferred to judicial authorities.

“France expresses its thanks to local authorities for their cooperation which has made this operation possible”, the ministry added.

In September, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that France must re-examine repatriation requests from two French women who travelled to Syria with their partners to join Islamic State. The requests were also for the children they gave birth to there.

French citizens were among more than 40 000 foreign nationals, most of them Iraqis, in detention, according to Human Rights Watch.

According to earlier estimates by rights groups, some women and children likely still remain in the camp after Thursday’s repatriation operation which followed a similar mission in July.