French mothers in former war zone in Syria face terrible choice


France plans to start repatriating an estimated 150 children from former IS war zone but says mothers themselves will not be welcomed home.

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For dozens of French women detained in Syria, an impossible choice looms: keeping their children in a war zone, or sending them home knowing they might never see each other again, reports Channel NewsAsia.

Like other Western nations which experienced an extremist exodus to Iraq or Syria, France is grappling with how to handle citizens left in the war zone following heavy losses for the Islamic State group.

Last week, France announced plans to start repatriating an estimated 150 children, many of them being held alongside their mothers by Kurdish forces in Syria following Islamic State defeats.

But French officials made clear that the mothers themselves will not be welcomed home.

A few days ago, Nadine - her name has been changed - got a phone call from her daughter-in-law in a Kurdish camp.

The young mother was in tears. "Do I have to abandon my children in order for them to go back to France?" she sobbed.

Nadim Houry, a senior Human Rights Watch official who regularly visits the Kurdish camps, said France's announcement would "bring an end to an unbearable situation".

Read more of this report from Channel NewsAsia.



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