How three orphans of French jihadists remain abandoned by Paris in Syria

By Céline Martelet

Three young orphans of French jihadist parents who died after joining the ranks of the so-called Islamic State group in Syria have been held in orphanages in Damascus since November 2019. The aunt of two of them has been campaigning for their return to France, but the French authorities have told her they cannot help with the repatriation. “It’s a political question, but it is these children who suffer the consequences,” says their aunt. “They have already paid for the choices made by their parents.” Céline Martelet reports.

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It was early on the morning of June 13th when Loubna watched a video sent to her in France via her mobile phone showing nine-year-old Zara and a wriggling, three-year-old Inès. “I don’t have the words to describe what I felt upon seeing these two little ones, it was overwhelming,” said Loubna, whose real name, like all those cited here, is withheld.