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    Threat by Jihadist 'Wives and Children' and How France, Britain Deal With It

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    Authorities in Paris are in the process of evaluating the possibility of repatriating minors, held by Syrian Kurdish forces and belonging to suspected French Islamist militants.

    French officials have been reported to seek the return of these children to France, while refusing to take back their mothers and fathers.

    There are at least 120 children, held in Kurdish camps in Syria, which belong to French nationals who joined terrorist groups. The French government is reported to review the matter on the case-by-case basis. The repatriation of the minors in question would depend on their mothers' agreement.

    "It is in the best interest of the children," said one of the French officials.

    France is concerned that leaving these minors in Syria could lead to their eventual radicalization. Paris has suffered from a number of terror attacks in the past few years and is determined to prevent development of home-grown terrorism, as well as fighters returning back to France to further pose security threat to the country.

    Revocation of Citizenship

    British authorities similarly uphold tough legislation concerning British nationals suspected in conducting themselves "in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom, any of the Islands, or any British overseas territory."

    With the emergence of the Daesh* terror threat and heightened fear of foreign fighters, the UK government increased its citizenship revocation powers. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (passed in 2014 and enacted in 2015 via Royal Assent) provides the UK government the power to, "disrupt the ability of people to travel abroad to engage in terrorist activity and then return to the UK."

    Since 2006, the UK authorities have revoked the citizenship of dozens Brits, including members of the so-called ‘Jihadi Beatles' group.

    Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, from west London, were stripped of their UK citizenship, when accused of torturing and murdering more than 25 foreign hostages that were held by Daesh.

    Alexanda Amon Kotey, left, and El Shafee Elsheikh, who were allegedly among four British jihadis who made up a brutal Islamic State cell dubbed The Beatles, speak during an interview with The Associated Press at a security center in Kobani, Syria, Friday, March 30, 2018.
    © AP Photo / Hussein Malla
    Alexanda Amon Kotey, left, and El Shafee Elsheikh, who were allegedly among four British jihadis who made up a brutal Islamic State cell dubbed "The Beatles," speak during an interview with The Associated Press at a security center in Kobani, Syria, Friday, March 30, 2018.

    The Home Office is not keen to bring the pair, held by the predominantly Kurdish US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), back to Britain. In July, the UK government dropped objections to the pair going on trial in the US, where they could face death penalty.

    Women Posing Security Threat

    UK researchers have previously argued that the number of women and minors returning to Britain from Syria and Iraq has been significantly underestimated.

    Researchers from the International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) at King's College in London said that said 850 British citizens became affiliated with Isis in Iraq and Syria, including 145 women and 50 minors.

    "The British citizens that have now been confirmed as returning to the UK have not been differentiated by gender, or age delineation, though women and minors accounted for 23% of British IS [Isis] affiliates in Syria and Iraq. We believe some women may now pose a particular security threat based on several factors. These include the physical security roles and related training that some women have undertaken in IS-held territory, and the potential to transfer or apply these skills in other locations, or to their children," ICSR experts reported in July.

    READ MORE: 'Underestimated': Women's Role in Daesh Goes Beyond 'Jihadi Brides' — Report

    Women have increasingly assumed more operational roles in jihadist terrorism activities, as have minors and young adults, a 2017 Europol report noted. It added that the number of arrests of women has significantly increased in 2016, compared to the previous year.

    Jihadism accounted for the most serious forms of terrorist activity in the EU, Europol said.

    "Explosives were used in 40% of the attacks and women and young adults, and even children, are playing increasingly operational roles in committing terrorist activities independently in the EU," the report concluded. 

    *Daesh (aka ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia

    Related:

    Jihadi John, Jihadi Jack, White Widow: UK Terrorists & Why They 'Like Nicknames'
    'Underestimated': Women's Role in Daesh Goes Beyond 'Jihadi Brides' – Report
    Homecoming Terrorists: UK Gov't Pressed to Stop Returning Brits Who Joined Daesh
    Tags:
    children, women, Daesh, United Kingdom, France
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