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France has become ‘university for jihadism’ warns Le Pen as Isis soldier seek return home | World | News

France has become ‘university for jihadism’ warns Le Pen as Isis soldier seek return home | World | News 46

EU member states have so far failed to come up with a coherent policy on how to handle the hundreds of their citizens who travelled to join the terrorist organisation, and who are now in the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Iraqi authorities.

European states, including France, are reluctant to repatriate their citizens who joined the Islamic State terrorist group because of the security threat they are thought to pose.

The rightwing chief balked at the idea of repatriating French Isis militants currently being held in detention camps in Iraq and Syria.

“France has become a university for jihadism,” Mme Le Pen, the leader of the populist Rassemblement national (RN) party, said in an interview with the news channel BFMTV.

“Syria and Iraq are sovereign countries, and are both perfectly able of trying people accused of committing crimes [on their soil],” she added. The children of Isis members, however, should be sent home “on a case-by-case basis”.

She continued: “Some of the children – some as young as 10 – have been trained to slaughter human beings. Others, however, can come home, but on the condition that their mothers and fathers are stripped of their parental authority because otherwise, we’ll be bringing back ticking time bombs”.

While most EU countries have tried to repatriate minors on a case-by-case basis, they have been reluctant to bring their jihadi parents home, fearing a public backlash, difficulties in prosecuting them domestically and the security threat they are thought to pose.

French government policy had until recently been to categorically refuse to bring back Isis fighters and their wives. 

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has repeatedly referred to them as “enemies” of the nation who should face justice either in Iraq or Syria.

But the prospect of the United States’ gradual withdrawal from the region as well as Turkey’s recent military incursion into northern Syria has given sudden urgency to the problem and forced Paris to reconsider its hardline position and prepare for the possible return of French jihadists.

In addition, tensions between Turkish-led forces and the SDF have stoked instability in Syria’s northeast, raising EU fears detained Isis fighters could escape and rejoin the group.

In November, Turkey launched a programme to repatriate foreign ISIS militants that has caused friction with its EU allies. 

It has repeatedly accused EU governments of being too slow to take back their citizens who travelled to fight in the Middle East.

Ankara aims to repatriate around 2,500 militants, mostly to EU countries.

Some rights groups have also called for an international court to prosecute Isis fighters for their crimes. 

However, such a tribunal could only prosecute ISIS jihadists for international crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – and would be difficult to set up.

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