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Sisters repatriated to Switzerland from Syrian prison camp

An online description of the two missing girls who were presumed to be in Syria. SRF-SWI

The Swiss authorities have negotiated the release of two half-sisters, aged 15 and nine, from a Kurdish-controlled camp in Syria back to Switzerland.

This content was published on December 7, 2021 - 10:23
swissinfo.ch/mga

They were taken from Geneva to Syria by their mother in 2016 when she joined the Islamic State terror group. The mother and two half-sisters ended up in the Kurdish controlled Roj detainment camp in northeastern Syria.

The fate of the two girls received intensive media scrutiny and the Swiss authorities were urged to intervene.

On Monday, the foreign ministry confirmedExternal link that the girls had arrived at Geneva Airport in Switzerland having first been transferred to Iraq.

According to Swiss public broadcaster SRFExternal link, a Swiss team visited the Roj camp and managed to persuade their mother to release the two girls.

In Geneva they will be under the care of child welfare services and receive counselling before a decision is taken on whether they can be reunited with their fathers, according to SRF.

The mother was stripped of her Swiss citizenship last year. Since 2019, Switzerland has enforced a strict policy of not repatriating adults who leave the country to join banned terror groups.

Switzerland wants jihadists to be tried under international legal standards in the country where they committed their crimes.

The returning girls were among seven children with Swiss citizenship stuck in war-torn Syria.

“In order to protect the children and their privacy, no further information can be provided on this repatriation,” the foreign ministry stated on Monday.

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