EU country repatriates ISIS-linked women

Five women will be arrested after being flown back to the Netherlands from Syria along with their 11 children

On Thursday, the Netherlands’ government said it was conducting a “special operation” to bring five Syria-based Dutch women and their 11 children to the Netherlands. The women are suspected of terrorism offenses. 

In a letter to Parliament, the justice and foreign ministers said that when the women arrive they will be “arrested so that they can be prosecuted.” The 11 children will be looked after by a child welfare organization. 

“With the transportation to the Netherlands, the Cabinet aims to prevent impunity for these five suspects,” Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in their letter to lawmakers.

The decision to bring back the suspected jihadists came after a court in Rotterdam said that the criminal cases against them could be dropped if the women weren’t repatriated within months.

Millions of men, women, and children live in refugee camps across the Middle East. Some 6.7 million people have been displaced by conflict in Syria, many live in refugee camps in neighboring countries, such as Turkey and Jordan.

Among them are scores of European nationals suspected of involvement in terrorism offenses and having links with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). Many European states have been reluctant to repatriate them.

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