“This situation is simply untenable. It cannot persist indefinitely ”, insistedUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Monday, June 28, during a meeting in Rome of the ministers of the coalition against Daesh. “The United States continues to urge countries – including coalition partners – to repatriate, rehabilitate and, where appropriate, prosecute their citizens. “
These remarks by the head of the American diplomacy mainly target France and the United Kingdom, the two allies of the United States most resistant to the idea of a return of their citizens arrested abroad after having fought with Daesh in Syria or Iraq. Antony Blinken, on the other hand, praised Italy, “ one of the rare countries of Western Europe to want to repatriate its nationals “. He cited the efforts made by Finland, Kazakhstan, as well as several countries in Central Asia and the Balkans, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and North Macedonia.
According to the US Secretary of State, 10,000 Daesh fighters are still being held by Kurdish forces, the main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the coalition of anti-Daesh militias in northeastern Syria. A report by Human Rights Watch, published in March 2021, estimated that more than 63,000 women and children of suspected combatants are locked up there.
Of these, around 20,000 are from Syria, 31,000 from Iraq and nearly 12,000 (including 8,000 children and 4,000 women) come from 60 other countries. ” Some countries actively block the return of their citizens, including revoking their citizenship Says Letta Tayler, associate director at Human Rights Watch. “ UK and anti-Daesh coalition plan to build more prisons and closed ‘rehabilitation’ centers in northeastern Syria “.
The organization denounces the repatriation of children without their mothers, in violation of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on Human Rights.
→ DEBATE. Should the French jihadists detained in Syria be repatriated to the national territory?
The foreign ministers of the coalition are satisfied, in their joint communiqué, to recognize as a ” serious concern “The situation of Daesh fighters and members of their families detained in north-eastern Suria and” the importance of finding a complete and long-term solution to this serious problem “. Washington will provide an additional $ 436 million (€ 370 million) in humanitarian assistance to Syrians displaced by the war.
Growing threat in Africa
Daesh has lost almost all of its territory in Syria and Iraq, but it is developing in Africa, through affiliated armed groups. The ministers of the coalition against Daesh – 83 members, mainly states – decided, at the instigation of Italy, to form a working group to assess how they could contribute to counter the threat of Daesh on the African continent, particularly in the Sahel, East Africa and Mozambique.
The Central African Republic and Mauritania participated in the Rome meeting, while Italy had invited Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mozambique as observers.