Many of these women are from former Soviet states but some are from Asian countries as well as France and Germany.
Iraq Holding 1,400 Foreign Wives, Children Of Daesh Fighters
Iraqi authorities are holding 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected Daesh fighters after government forces expelled the jihadist group from one of its last remaining strongholds in Iraq, security and aid officials said.
According to Reuters, most came from Turkey but many were from former Soviet states, such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Russia, as well as a few French and Germans and even Japanese.
Other media reports indicate the women come from at least 13 countries in total.
Reuters reported that the wives and children are being held at an Iraqi camp south of Mosul. Most had arrived since August 30, when Iraqi troops drove Daesh out of Mosul.
One intelligence officer said that they were still verifying their nationalities with their home countries, as many of the women no longer possessed documents.
“We are holding the Daesh families under tight security measures and waiting for government orders on how to deal with them,” said Army Colonel Ahmed al-Taie from Mosul’s Nineveh operation command.
“We treat them well. They are families of tough criminals who killed innocents in cold blood, but when we interrogated them we discovered that almost all of them were misled by a vicious Daesh propaganda,” he said.
One French-speaking woman of Chechen origin told Reuters: “I want to go back (to France) but don’t know how.” She said she did not know what had happened to her husband, who had brought her to Iraq when he joined Daesh.
Many of the families had fled to Tal Afar after Iraqi troops pushed Islamic State out of Mosul.
An interior ministry official told Reuters that Iraq wanted to negotiate with embassies to return the women and children. “We can’t keep this number in our custody for a long time,” he said.
But according to Reuters, aid workers and the authorities are worried about tensions between Iraqis, who lost their homes and are also living in the camp, and the new arrivals.
Many Iraqis want revenge for the harsh treatment they received under the extremists’ interpretation of Sunni Islam, which they imposed in Mosul and the other areas they seized in 2014.
“The families are being kept to one side (of the camp) for their own safety,” an Iraqi military intelligence officer said.
In addition, Western officials are worried about radicalized fighters and their relatives coming home after the collapse of Daesh’s caliphate, Reuters reported.
“My mother doesn’t even know where I am,” said a 27-year-old French woman of Algerian descent. She said she had been tricked by her husband into coming with him through Turkey into Syria and then Iraq when he joined Daesh last year.
“I had just given birth to this little girl three months before,” she said holding the infant and asking not to be named.
“He said ‘let’s go for a week’s holiday in Turkey.’ He had already bought the plane tickets and the hotel.”
After four months in Mosul, she ran away from her husband to Tal Afar in February. She was hoping to make it back to France but he found her and would not let her leave, Reuters reported.
She tearfully recounted how her five-year-old son was killed in June by a rocket while playing in the streets.
“I don’t understand why he did this to us,” she said of her husband, who she said was killed fighting in Mosul. “Dead or alive - I couldn’t care less about him.”
She and a few other families had walked for days to surrender at a Kurdish peshmerga checkpoint beyond al-Ayadiyah, a town near Tal Afar where the militants made their last stand.