THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Lawyers for 23 women who joined Islamic State from the Netherlands asked a judge on Friday to order the Netherlands to repatriate them and their 56 young children from camps in Syria.
The women and children were living in “deplorable conditions” in the al-Hol camp in Northern Syria, lawyer Andre Seebregts said in court.
He added that their situation had significantly worsened due to the Turkish incursion into Syria and the possibility of Syrian forces taking control of the camps which were controlled by the Kurds until now.
The Dutch government has stressed that it is too dangerous for Dutch officials to go into the camps and find the women to return them to the Netherlands.
Lawyers for the state repeated that argument in court and added that the women did not have the right to Dutch consular assistance in the camps.
According to the Red Cross some 68,000 defeated fighters of Islamic State and their families are held in the al-Hol camp. They were held under the custody of Syrian Kurdish forces after they took the jihadist group’s last enclave.
According to figures from the Dutch intelligence Agency as of Oct. 1 there are 55 Islamic State militants who traveled from the Netherlands and at least 90 children with Dutch parents, or parents who had lived for a considerable time in the Netherlands, in Northern Syria.
The court will deliver a verdict on Nov 11.
(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Giles Elgood)