Kurdish authorities in Rojava, the de-facto autonomous administration of North and East Syria, have refused to release Swedish Daesh* women from their camps for fear that they will circumvent prosecution in their home countries, Swedish Radio reported.
While it has been one and a half years since the fall of the so-called Daesh “caliphate”, many of the former “Daesh brides”, who had children with one or more terrorist spouses, continue to live in internment camps in northern Syria. However, even if Sweden were theoretically ready to accept them, this remains an unlikely prospect due to the stance of the Kurdish authorities.
While the Kurdish authorities previously were anxious about the countries involved, including Sweden, France and Germany, taking back their respective jihadists, now, in a remarkable change of tune, they are seeking international help prosecuting the women on the spot and de-radicalising the children by placing them in special centres and schools on location. This is due to fears that countries known for their lenience, like Sweden and Finland, will be unable to bring them to justice by putting them on trial. Furthermore, the children should meet their mothers as little as possible, a Kurdish representative told Swedish Radio.
Last week, in an attempt to bring Swedish Daesh children home from the Syrian camps, Sweden sent a delegation from its Foreign Ministry to the war-torn country, the second in just over a year. Some of the Daesh women used this opportunity to beg to be taken “home” as Swedish citizens. After the last trip, in the spring of 2019, all seven of notorious jihadist and Daesh recruiter Michael Skråmo's children were returned to Sweden.
The camps for Daesh brides, which are rife with poverty, unsanitary conditions and indoctrination, have long been a bone of contention, as is the fate of their inmates, who are seen as everything from “victims” to “ticking bombs”.
Sweden has emerged as one of Europe's leaders in terms of jihadists per capita, having produced about 300 “Daesh travellers”, as the terrorists are sometimes referred to in the nation's mainstream media. Since the defeat of the “caliphate”, about 150 of them have returned. In recent years, Säpo, the country's Securty Police, estimate that the number of violent Islamists has risen tenfold from about 200 in 2010 to about 2,000. Around 80 children of Daesh supporters with Swedish connections were estimated to remain in Syria.
The Scandinavian country is notoriously lax with dozens of its “returnees”, as almost none of them has faced prosecution for crimes committed in the Middle East. On the contrary, reports of jihadists receiving benefits and medical help and enrolling in various de-radicalisation programmes have emerged.
* Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, "Islamic State") is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and elsewhere