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Syrian Kurds hand over French, Dutch Islamic State orphans

June 10, 2019
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FILE - In this March 31, 2019 file photo, laundry dries on a chain-link fence at Al-Hol camp, in the section where foreign families from Islamic State-held areas are housed, Hasakeh province, Syria. Syrian Kurdish official said Monday, June 10, 2019, that authorities in northeastern Syria have handed 12 French and two Dutch orphans whose fathers were killed fighting for the Islamic State group back to their countries. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — Authorities in northeastern Syria have handed 12 French and two Dutch orphans whose fathers were killed fighting for the Islamic State group back to their countries, according to Kurdish and European officials.

Abdulkarim Omar, a senior official in the Kurdish self-rule administration, tweeted on Monday that the children were handed over to French and Dutch officials the day before.

Thousands of IS members and their families are in camps and detention centers in northern Syria, including around 74,000 people who are being sheltered at al-Hol camp in Hasakeh province.

France’s foreign affairs ministry confirmed the transfer, saying the French children — either orphans or isolated minors — returned to France from the camps in Syria.

The ministry said they have been handed over to France’s judicial authorities upon their arrival on French soil and “are now subject to special medical monitoring and care by social services.”

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok also confirmed, in a brief letter to parliament, that the two Dutch orphans were handed over.

He said the children “were staying in a camp in Syria under wretched conditions and without any form of parental authority.”

He said the two children had been handed over to a guardian appointed by a Dutch court.

Last week, Kurdish authorities handed over to a Norwegian envoy five orphans of IS members who were killed in Syria. Last month, Iraq handed over to Turkey 188 Turkish children of suspected IS members.

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