ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Uzbekistan announced on Friday the arrival of 64 children who belong to Islamic State members who are serving life imprisonment in Iraq.
According to a statement by the Uzbek foreign ministry, the children were transferred in a joint effort by the two countries and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The statement said the children’s age was between 3 to 14 years, with 14 of them under the age of three, who had suffered “moral, psychological, and physical problems.”
The children will receive “medical, psychological, and social assistance by specialists,” at a special accommodations house, the ministry said. It added that the parents had permitted the repatriation.
In September, Uzbekistan announced it had plans to bring back 65 children and 235 citizens from Iraq with alleged Islamic State affiliation, not specifying whether they would face trial or not.
Other nations like Kazakhstan, Russia, and Sweden have also repatriated children who belong to Islamic State families.
Following the emergence of the terror group in Syria and Iraq in 2014, thousands of foreign nationals flocked to areas under their control to join the Islamic State. Often accompanying them were women either from their own countries or elsewhere.
The United States has called on countries to bring home thousands of Islamic State members, which the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have captured in Syria.
So far, European states have been reluctant to bring back Islamic State fighters or women accused of membership in the terrorist group and their children who are stuck in Syria.
Many EU countries fear that due to the lack of evidence, Islamic State supporters could be quickly released once they appear in court after returning home.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany