Lawyers asked the French authorities on Friday for the emergency repatriation of several seriously ill people currently detained in the Kurdish camp of Roj in Syria, in a statement and statements to AFP. The state of health of one of the minor children of Estelle K., “left for Syria with her three minor children and her husband in 2014” and “prisoner” since 2017 “in the region of Deir Ezzor (north-eastern Syria )”, is “extremely alarming”, according to a press release from Me William Bourdon and Vincent Brengarth.
“An emergency repatriation is essential”
“His life is threatened. The undersigned urge the government to proceed with the urgent repatriation of this child and his family”, they write. According to them, a French cardiologist seized of the file estimated that “an emergency repatriation is essential, his condition indeed requires that specialized care be carried out”. “The correspondence addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs remains unanswered today. The undersigned are flabbergasted by this silence which nothing explains in view of the very great gravity of the situation. They therefore publicly challenge the authorities to request the repatriation of this child and his family”, they also write.
With AFP, Me Marie Dosé alerted to the situation of a woman, mother of two children, also detained in Roj, “victim of a stroke recently, paralyzed, and hospitalized Wednesday for respiratory failure”. “It is absolutely necessary to repatriate it”, she indicated. She said she had sent “dozens” of alerts and requests for repatriation to the French authorities during the summer concerning mothers and their children. “These children have spent three, four or five years in open-air prisons, breathing in the smell of oil wells and have not benefited from any appropriate care. Many suffer from respiratory failure and bear the scars of their wounds that were never healed,” she said.
Large majority of French resolutely hostile to repatriation
“France keeps them there knowingly. The later the children return to France, the more difficult their medical and psychological care will be,” she argued. On July 5, 16 women and 35 minors, some of whom had been living since the fall of the Islamic State group in 2019 in camps in northeastern Syria held by Kurdish forces, were brought back to France. All the women, targeted either by an arrest warrant or by a search warrant issued by the French courts, were indicted for association with criminal terrorist criminals and imprisoned, upon their arrival on French soil or at the end of a few days in custody. The children were cared for by Child Welfare.
During his first five-year term, President Emmanuel Macron was very reluctant to bring back French nationals who had left to do jihad in Syria, aware that a large majority of French people were resolutely hostile there. Only a few children have been repatriated, according to the “case by case” doctrine. But while other countries have recovered their nationals in recent months, Paris’ position has shifted.