Four women arrested in Germany after being repatriated from Syrian camp

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By AP  with Euronews
A woman and child stand in the Roj detention camp in northeast Syria.
A woman and child stand in the Roj detention camp in northeast Syria.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad, File

Four German women have been arrested after being repatriated from a camp in northeastern Syria.

Authorities say they had brought home 10 women and 27 children from the region -- where suspected members of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group have been held.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the group was repatriated from the Roj camp on Wednesday after an “extremely difficult” operation.

“The 27 children are, at the end of the day, victims of IS, and they have a right to a better future far from its deadly ideology, and also to live in security, as we would wish for our own children,” Baerbock said in a statement.

“The mothers must be held accountable for their actions,” she added, confirming that some had been taken into custody immediately after arriving in Germany.

Federal prosecutors said those arrested were three German citizens and a German-Moroccan dual national.

They have all been accused of being members of a foreign terrorist organisation, while one is alleged to have also enslaved a Yazidi woman.

Prosecutors said the four women travelled separately to Syria or Iraq in 2014 and joined IS.

Germany previously repatriated 23 children and eight mothers from Roj in October. At the same time, neighbouring Denmark brought home 14 children and three women.

Baerbock thanked Kurdish authorities in Syria and “our U.S. partners, who once again provided us with logistical support.”

"The majority of the German children whose mothers are willing to return to Germany have been brought to safety,” she said.

“There are now only a few special cases for which we are continuing to work on individual solutions.”