Numerous women once traveled from Germany to Syria and Iraq to join the IS terrorist militia. Now some of them have returned. For most of them this means: imprisonment instead of freedom.

With another return campaign, the federal government let eight women fly to Germany who are said to have joined the terrorist militia “Islamic State” (IS) a few years ago. Most recently, the German women and their 23 children lived in the Roj prison camp in northeast Syria, which is under Kurdish administration. A charter plane with them on board landed at Frankfurt Airport shortly before midnight on Wednesday evening. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) announced that the majority of the returnees were arrested after landing.

In the charter plane there were also 3 women and their 14 children who were brought back by the Danish government. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the action was logistically supported by the USA.

“The children are not to blame for their situation. It is right that we do everything we can to enable them to live in safety and in a good environment,” said Maas. “The mothers will have to answer to the criminal justice system for their actions.”

There are arrest warrants against several women

According to information from security circles, there were arrest warrants against six women, including three from the Federal Prosecutor General. The youth welfare office is checking where their children can be accommodated. As the news magazine “Spiegel” reported, the women between the ages of 30 and 38 years had spent years with their children in a prison camp.

It is not the first time that the federal government has brought back women who had once traveled from Germany to the IS area. According to information from the “Bild” newspaper, however, it is the largest to date. Several former ISIS returnees had to answer in court after arriving in Germany on suspicion of terrorism and other allegations.

Foreign Minister Maas referred to the difficult humanitarian situation in northeast Syria, where millions of people are dependent on aid. The corona pandemic and the economic collapse have exacerbated the situation. The Kurdish self-government supported the preparation of the return campaign. Those who have now been retrieved are cases that have been classified as particularly in need of protection. Among them are mainly children who are sick or have custodians in Germany, as well as their siblings and mothers. Maas spoke of a “show of strength”.