Kurds hand over Daesh-linked kids to Nigeria - GulfToday

Kurds hand over Daesh-linked kids to Nigeria


A Nigerian government representative carries one of three Daesh-linked orphaned siblings in Qamishli on Thursday. Agence France-Presse

Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria on Thursday handed over three siblings linked with the Daesh group to Nigeria, the first such repatriation to the African country, an official said.

“Three children... were handed over to representatives of the Nigerian government,” said Fanar Kaeet, a Kurdish foreign affairs official.

The siblings are a girl and two boys − all between five and ten years old − who had lost both parents, Kaeet said.

A representative of Nigeria’s government said his country is also looking into other cases.

“We have asked the foreign relations department at the Kurdish administration for a list of Nigerians and Africans” under their custody, Musa Habib Marika said.

“As for Nigerian (Daesh) fighters, the Nigerian government will look into this,” Marika said in response to a question as to whether his country had any plans to repatriate combatants.

The Kurds have spearheaded the US-backed fight against Daesh in Syria, and in March expelled the extremists from their last patch of territory in the war-torn country’s far east.

Even as the Kurds fight remaining sleeper cells, thousands of alleged Daesh fighters and family members are being held in their custody.

These include hundreds of suspected foreign fighters in jails, and thousands of their alleged family members in overcrowded camps.

Western countries have been largely reluctant to repatriate their nationals. But Germany, France and Belgium have brought a handful of orphans home, while the US last year repatriated a woman with her four children.

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo have repatriated dozens of women and children.

In a separate development, a joint report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday that Syria’s wheat and barley crops this year improved helped by favourable rainfall and better overall security but food security remains a challenge.

Wheat production for the 2019 season was estimated at 2.2 million tonnes, up from the 29-year low of 1.2 million tonnes produced last year, the report said.

“It is an improvement but a lot remains to be done... it is still 50% less than the pre-war figures,” Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO assistant director general and regional representative for the Near East and North Africa, said.


Related articles