The dilemma for Paris over French jihadists captured in Syria and Iraq


In the wake of the military defeats of the Islamic State group in the Middle East, a total of about 100 French nationals, including jihadist fighters, women and children, are now detained in Iraq and in Kurd-controlled territory in Syria. Their situation represents a dilemma for the French government, which is tempted to leave them in the hands of their captors and their justice systems, but which is under pressure from lawyers acting for their families who argue that to do so is unlawful and inhumane. Michel Deléan and Matthieu Suc report on the debate, and hear the arguments, which include security concerns, for and against their return.

Secret services fear Islamic State 'travel agency' could return jihadists to France

France — Investigation

The Islamic State terrorist organisation has been quietly preparing for the loss of its self-styled Caliphate for several months. France's security services now fear that its fighters might be moved to other areas of jihadist conflict or into Europe. In particular they have have raised concerns over the role of the terrorist's mysterious 'Emigration and Logistics Committee' based in Turkey, the Lebanon and Jordan, amid fears it may be used to send French and other European jihadists back to their country of origin. Matthieu Suc reports.

The threat from Islamic State's 'fifth column' in Europe

France — Investigation

Jihadi veterans have been seeking to cause disarray among European intelligence agencies with hoax attacks that distract from real ones and attempts to infiltrate public agencies and companies. As a result security official are having huge difficulties in trying to measure the true scale of the terrorist threat that faces us. In the last of this lengthy series of investigations on Islamic State's intelligence operations, Matthieu Suc reports on the dangers still posed by jihadist agents operating within Europe despite Islamic State's major reverses in Iraq and Syria.

French paratrooper killed in Iraq-Syria military zone

International — Link

Soldier from 13th regiment of paratroopers was the first French casualty since the anti-Islamic State 'Operation Chammal' was launched in 2014.

How Islamic State's secret services hunt down informers

International — Investigation

The Islamic State employs the techniques of Western secret services to track down potential informers. This includes using CIA-inspired interrogation methods and agent provocateurs, and carrying out background checks on prisoners and new recruits from Europe. But as Matthieu Suc reports in this second article on the jihadist organisation's secret services, this does not mean they are always immune from double agents.

France pledges support to stabilize post-Islamic State Iraq

France — Link

On visit to Baghdad foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France would help reconstruction and reconciliation efforts in Iraq.

Minister says 271 jihadi militants have returned to France

France — Link

Interior minister Gérard Collomb says all the militants back from war zones in Iraq and Syria are subject to investigation by public prosecutors.

French national detained in Turkey after crossing from Iraq

France — Link

Man, who had photographs of and interviews with Kurdish militia fighters on him, has appeared in court on suspicion of aiding a terrorist group.

Hollande: fighting IS in Iraq prevents terrorism in France

France — Link

Hollande spoke as he met French soldiers in Iraq who are part of a US-led 60-member coalition carrying out air strikes against Islamic State.

Hollande to visit French troops in Iraq Monday

France — Link

In last New Year message of presidency, Hollande also paid tribute to those killed in terror attacks this year, including the 86 who died in Nice.

French jets from aircraft carrier 'conduct strikes against IS'

France — Link

Report says Rafale fighter planes took off from the Charles de Gaulle carrier to take part in an attack on Islamic State's Iraq stronghold Mosul.

French PM says 600-plus people have left France for Syria or Iraq

France — Link

Figures show little let-up in numbers joining Islamic State despite bombing of IS strongholds and crackdown by authorities within France.

Islamic State claims two Iraqis took part in November Paris attacks

International — Link

The claim made in jihadist group's magazine Dabiq raised speculation the two men may have been suicide bombers who targeted Stade de France.

Jets launch attacks on Islamic State positions from French carrier

International — Link

Two raids against IS targets in Syria and Iraq were launched from the Charles de Gaulle which arrived in the eastern Mediterranean on Monday.

France launches fresh strikes on Islamic State

France — Link

Attacks come as US defence secretary urges European allies to join forces to defeat IS and French police raid 128 addresses overnight.