Turkey is preparing to bring in nearly 500 children of Turkish foreign fighters for Daesh who are in Iraqi prisons. The downfall of the terrorist organization left the fate of those under the age of 18 who came or were born to fighters stranded.
According to the source in the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad speaking to the Milliyet newspaper, Ankara is preparing to bring in the first party of children before Ramadan ends to provide them with an enjoyable summer holiday in Turkey.
Pointing out that both countries have been talking about the issue for some time now, the source stressed that the Ministry of Family and Social Policies are liaising with Iraqi officials from the Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry on the matter, adding that the preparations for the acceptance of children are almost complete.
Most of the fathers who joined the ranks of Daesh with them have died in the conflicts, leaving their children unaccompanied. After the terrorist organization was wiped out from Iraq, the children and wives of the Daesh fighters were detained and placed in prison.
Some of the women were sentenced to death by Iraqi courts while others were punished with life imprisonment. Turkey has long been expending tremendous efforts to bring back unaccompanied children to their countries.
Daesh started gaining control in Iraq and later in Syria in 2014 through a campaign of violence, invasion and extreme brutality against residents.
At the height of Daesh's power, hundreds of foreign fighters including Turks streamed in to join the self-proclaimed caliphate. Some militants took their young children with them to Daesh-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq.
Following a period of expansion from 2014 to 2015, Daesh went into a gradual decline, with the U.S.-led coalition bombings weakened the group. The international community has been fighting against Daesh for years, but this bloody group remained undefeated with its militias.
According to the 2018 report "From Daesh to Diaspora," issued by the International Center for Study of Radicalization that traced the women and minors connected to the terrorist organization, at least 41,490 citizens from 80 countries traveled to Syria and Iraq.
While up to 4,761 (13 percent) of these were recorded to be women, 4,640 (12 percent) of these were minors. The number of infants recorded born inside the Daesh "caliphate" to international parents, on the other hand, was documented as being at least 730.
Until 2018, 20 percent, 7,366 of the foreign fighters returned to their home countries or appear to be in the process of repatriation.
Yet, only 256 (4 percent) of total returnees are recorded as women, accounting for up to 5 percent of the women who traveled to Syria and Iraq. Up to 1,180 (17 percent) of total returnees are recorded as minors, accounting for up to 25 percent of minors who traveled to, or were born in, Iraq and Syria.
Although Daesh is mostly defeated, dealing with the children of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq is posing a dilemma for governments in their home countries. Many of the foreign fighters and their families are in prison or special camps in Iraq and Syria.
Additionally, more than 3,000 foreign women and children are being held by the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) at the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria.