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Four Britons repatriated from Syria camp

Qamishli – Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria said Friday that they had handed over a woman and three children to British representatives for repatriation, with a source saying they had been held in a camp for jihadists’ relatives.

Five years after the Islamic State group was driven out of its last bastion in Syria, tens of thousands of the jihadists’ family members, including from Western countries, remain in detention camps in the Kurdish-controlled northeast.

The Kurdish administration said it had “handed over a woman and three children to the United Kingdom”, following a meeting with a British delegation led its Syria envoy Ann Snow.

A source within the administration told AFP the four had been interned in the Roj camp where jihadists’ relatives are held.

Britain’s foreign ministry said UK officials had “facilitated the repatriation of a number of British nationals from Syria to the United Kingdom”.

“This repatriation is in line with the long-standing policy that all requests for UK consular assistance from Syria are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant circumstances including national security,” the spokesperson said.

On May 7, the United States announced it had brought back 11 Americans including five minors, as well as a nine-year-old non-US sibling of an American, from internment camps in northeastern Syria.

The United States in the same operation facilitated the repatriation of six Canadian citizens, four Dutch citizens and one Finnish citizen, eight of them children, Secretary of state Antony Blinken said.

And in December, the Kurdish administration handed over to Britain a woman and five children who had also been held in a camp.

Despite repeated appeals by the Kurdish authorities, a number of Western countries have refused to take back their citizens from the camps.

Among the most high profile cases is that of Shamima Begum, a former Briton stripped of her citizenship after leaving the country aged 15 to marry an Islamic State group fighter.

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