You have been fighting for years for the return of women and child prisoners in Syria. How are you doing after this first important repatriation?
I think France was hit by a corner. Our country could no longer isolate itself. It was necessary to put an end to this absurd “case-by-case” policy, and I remained convinced that the children would be sent home with their mothers. By leaving children and their mothers for years in unhygienic camps, France nurtured a bond between them: they suffered together, were hungry and cold together, waited together. How can we separate them in the middle of the desert after that? For the first time, France finally seems to be making the choice between humanity, reason and responsibility.
How about a repatriation of this kind, which is a bit of the first, at least numerically?
We pretend to discover a protocol that has been in place for years. We had already had this scenario with those who had fled via Turkey and returned with the Cazeneuve protocol (from the name of the former Socialist Minister of the Interior, editor’s note). As with each return, the mothers are brought to justice and the children are transferred to Childhood Social Assistance, ASE. The protocols are run in: the mothers are either placed in police custody or presented to an investigating judge; childhood professionals, psychologists and doctors, take care of minors upon their arrival at the airport.
Thirty-five French minors repatriated from Syrian camps with their mothers
What was your first act, and when did you meet the first returnees?
I first approached the Committee on the Rights of the Child. I saw the women after landing at DGSI (Directorate-General for Homeland Security, editor’s note) or in the courthouse. The separation at the airport was very tough for them: they have never spent less than a minute without their children for so many years.
What will be next for these women from now on?
They will be tried by special courts. French law has recently shown that it is well placed to close these lawsuits. This legal meeting is important, even essential. Associations for the defense of victims of terrorism and victims of terrorism have also called for the repatriation of these children and their mothers.
Should repatriations continue?
We need to repatriate everyone, and quickly. Do not wait any longer. The children who stayed in their tent with their mother collapsed. They ask themselves, “Why them and not me? Why was I not chosen?”
You often quote the case of Sara, a young woman from Allier who her parents took to Syria when she was 10 years old. Now 19, she was a minor and orphan at the time of her detention; The state has never accepted his return until now despite your repeated requests.
Sara is going home. I was devastated to find out that she was not part of this repatriation operation she’s been waiting for so long. I dare not imagine the state it is in. It is a matter of priority: she did not choose anything and I know she has been so weakened in recent months.
Emilie König, one of the female jihadists repatriated from Syria, was imprisoned on her arrival in France
The bend of France is confirmed
There are hundreds of French women and nearly 250 children left in jihadist prison camps in Syria after Tuesday’s operation, Laurent Nunez revealed yesterday. The Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Coordinator specified that the “security” criterion “increasingly” would be taken into account when deciding on possible future similar operations. “When we can, we will carry out repatriations on humanitarian grounds and increasingly on security grounds as the area is more and more unstable,” he said. “There may be threats of Turkish operations, IS, which is reconstituting itself in the Syrian desert […]. For the sake of the safety of our fellow citizens, it may be better to have them (these women and children) more under control than to see them in an area where they can enjoy themselves in nature ”.