Kyrgyzstan returns dozens of wives and children of jihadi militants

"On October 22, 2023, a special aircraft from Syria carried 21 women and 62 children who are Kyrgyz citizens to Kyrgyzstan," the country's foreign ministry said.
Women look after children at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp for the displaced where families of ISIS foreign fighters are held, in the al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria, on October 17, 2019. (AFP)
Women look after children at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp for the displaced where families of ISIS foreign fighters are held, in the al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria, on October 17, 2019. (AFP)

BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN (AFP) - Kyrgyzstan repatriated dozens of the wives and children of jihadist militants from camps in Syria on Sunday, as the Central Asian nation returns those stranded by the collapse of ISIS.

Thousands, including from Muslim-majority countries in Central Asia, joined jihadist groups like the so-called Islamic State at the height of the Syrian war from 2013 and 2015.

Many militants and their family members are now held in detention centres or are stuck in displacement camps, as countries resist calls for their repatriation, citing security threats. 

"On October 22, 2023, a special aircraft from Syria carried 21 women and 62 children who are Kyrgyz citizens to Kyrgyzstan," the country's foreign ministry said.

Kyrgyzstan said it carried out the mission with support from the United States, Red Cross and the children's emergency fund UNICEF, and that it also provided aid to the local population.

The Central Asian country had returned its citizens at least three times before, repatriating a total of more than 300 of its citizens from Syria and Iraq.