ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Austria on Saturday announced that preparations are ongoing to repatriate two orphans from Syria who belong to an Austrian Islamic State fighter.
Peter Guschelbauer, a spokesperson for Austria’s foreign ministry, told a local radio station that a court already decided on custody of the children on condition of “a positive DNA test,” the Associated Press reported.
According to the court's decision, the grandparents will get custody of the children, aged 1 and 3.
Guschelbauer also pointed out that there is a precedent to the repatriation of the children as Germany recently received four orphans who belong to Islamic State parents in Syria.
The mother of the two children is assumed to have been killed in Syria after she left Austria in 2014.
According to Guschelbauer the children have been living in the Al-Hol camp in Syria for the past few months, and the procedures for their return is almost finished as they will be handed over by Syria's Kurdish forces in charge of the camp.
Al-Hol witnessed an increase in numbers of residents as Syrian Kurdish-led forces, backed by the US-led coalition, launched an offensive to defeat the Islamic State in its last bastion of Baghouz in March.
So far, European states have been reluctant to bring back Islamic State fighters or women accused of membership in the extremist 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