A children’s charity has praised the Government for beginning the repatriation process of British orphans from Syria.
Save The Children said the act was a “triumph of compassion in the face of cruelty,” and that it would allow the youngsters to live full, happy lives.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed on Thursday evening that the orphans would be brought home, after a tweet from Kurdish officials in Syria suggested that three British children had been handed to authorities.
Mr Raab last month told MPs that children rescued from the fighting in northern Syria could be allowed to return home as long as there was “no security threat”.
There are still as many as 60 British children that remain stranded in appalling conditions and Syria’s harsh winter will soon begin to bite.Save The Children
It is the first time that the Government has agreed to bring the families of suspected jihadists back to Britain.
Boris Johnson said it would be extremely difficult to rescue all of the children, but said attempts would be made where possible.
“I think the situation in Syria is very difficult and very dangerous and I think it has been a great success that some orphaned children have been brought back,” the Prime Minister told reporters during a campaign stop in Worksop.
“But I think it would be over-optimistic frankly to say that we could do it in every single case – the military, logistical difficulties involved are very considerable but what I’ve said is that where the Government can help then it should help.”
The head of humanitarian campaigns at Save The Children, Alison Griffin, said it was proud of the work done to help the orphans but that more was still needed.
“(The Government) is transforming the lives of these innocent children who have been through terrible things that are far beyond their control,” she said.
“Every child saved is a triumph of compassion in the face of cruelty. We fervently hope this is just the start.
“There are still as many as 60 British children that remain stranded in appalling conditions and Syria’s harsh winter will soon begin to bite.
Today, 21 November 2019, three British orphans from ISIS parents were handed over to a delegation representing the British Foreign Ministry, headed by Mr. Martin Longden, according to an official repatriation document signed by the Selfe Administration and the British Government. pic.twitter.com/AgsfzQVpcX— Dr Abdulkarim Omar (@abdulkarimomar1) November 21, 2019
“All are as innocent as those rescued today and our very real fear is that they won’t all survive to see the spring. They must all be brought home before it is too late.”
Repatriation processes are already ongoing in many other countries such as France and the United States.
In June of this year, 12 children were flown back to France, and two American women and six children from suspected jihadist families were repatriated with the help of Kurdish authorities.
Kosovo, which boasts a large Muslim population, also repatriated over a hundred women and children from Syria in April.
Mr Raab confirmed that the children were in the process of being returned to the UK as it was “the right thing to do.”
In a statement, he said: “These innocent, orphaned children should never have been subjected to the horrors of war.
“We have facilitated their return home because it was the right thing to do. Now they must be allowed the privacy and given the support to return to a normal life.”
In a Commons debate in October, former Brexit secretary David Davis said vulnerable British children risked “turning into terrorists” if they were not brought home from Syria.