PARIS (Dispatches) – The family of a French man who had been fighting in Syria arrived back in France on Tuesday after having been expelled from Turkey, said a judicial source.
The source said the family - comprised of the man, two wives and nine children - had been initially arrested in Turkey after traveling to that country from Syria.
Earlier this week, twelve French and two Dutch orphans of Daesh terrorists were repatriated to France from Syria.
Authorities in northeast Syria have been urging Western countries to take back citizens who joined Daesh and their relatives after the U.S.-backed so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured the group’s last enclave this year.
Kurdish-led authorities last week said they had repatriated two U.S. women along with six children.
However, few countries have seemed willing to take back their citizens, who may be hard to prosecute, and the issue has led to fierce debate in their home countries where there is little public sympathy for the families of terrorists.
The issue is particularly acute in France where President Emmanuel Macron is under pressure after several French men were recently sentenced to death in Iraq on charges of joining Daesh. France opposes the death penalty.
But the French government has refused to take back Daesh terrorists and their wives. It has called the adults "enemies” of the nation, saying they should face justice either in Syria or Iraq.
The Kurdish-led administration and the SDF have said they cannot indefinitely hold thousands of foreigners, including many unrepentant terrorists, but no clear international policy has emerged over how to handle the issue.
Many of the relatives of captured Daesh terrorists are located in al-Hol, a camp for displaced people where aid agencies have warned of dire humanitarian conditions.