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Germany must repatriate IS militant's wife and children from Syria, court rules

Kurdish officials in northern Syria demand that mothers are sent back with their children [AFP]

Date of publication: 12 July, 2019

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A Berlin court has ruled that Germany's foreign ministry should repatriate the German wife and three children of a suspected IS fighter from Syria.
Germany's foreign ministry must repatriate from Syria the German wife and three children of a suspected Islamic State [IS] militant, a Berlin court ruled on Thursday. 

The suspected IS militant, whose fate is unknown, left Germany in 2014 and headed to Syria with his wife and two daughters, now aged seven and eight. His wife had a third child in Syria two years ago, the court spokesperson said.

His family sued the foreign ministry after authorities rejected a request to help return his wife and her three children from a Kurdish-controlled area in northern Syria.

The German state wanted to repatriate only the children, and Thursday's ruling comes as a first against the government.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the government was reviewing the ruling and may appeal it at a higher court.

More than 1,000 German nationals joined the IS group in Syria and Iraq, according to German intelligence officials.

Approximately one third are believed to have died, and another third have returned to Germany. The rest are thought to still be in Iraq and Syria, where the militant group once controlled swathes of territory. 

Like Germany, other Western states have had to face the dilemma of what to do with its citizens who went to the region to join militant groups like IS, with most wanting to repatriate only the children. 

But the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria, where thousands of IS militants are being held, demand that mothers are sent back with their children.

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