German woman accused of fighting for Islamic State in Syria arrested
A German woman who has been identified as Stefanie A, has been accused of taking her son to Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and then fighting for the extremist group was arrested on Wednesday, March 24. According to the reports by AP, the federal prosecutors in a statement said that the woman travelled to Syria in 2016 to join her husband. They further added that the woman’s husband had left Germany the previous year and was fighting for IS.
As per the statement, the son was killed in an air raid in March 2018 and Stefanie A. and her husband were later arrested. The woman is suspected of membership in a foreign terrorist organization. The prosecutors also said that the suspect joined IS after her arrival and with her husband and decided to have her son get firearms training at a training camp run by the group. Also, her son was used in military operations. This is how she also became an IS fighter.
Earlier in January, the United Nations urged the member states to repatriate over 27,000 Syrian children currently stranded at a camp in the northwestern part of the country. UN counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov said that the children, who are living at the Al Hol camp, are in dire need of help as they face various risks, including radicalization. The children are sons and daughters of Islamic State militants, who have either been killed or are in jail.
Voronkov, while speaking at an informal UN Security Council meeting, urged countries to repatriate those children as quickly as possible. Voronkov called it one of the most "pressing" issues in the world right now. According to the United Nations, the Al Hol camp in Syria houses more than 62,000 people, mostly women and children, who were displaced after the Islamic State was defeated in 2019. Voronkov said that it is the responsibility of member states to get those children out of Syria. He said that children of 60 different nationalities currently reside in the camp, which is being guarded by the Kurdish forces.
What is happening in Syria?
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) controlled huge landmasses across Syria and Iraq, almost as large as the United Kingdom. However, after the intervention of foreign forces and the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the terrorist group lost all its strongholds, and children of militants, who were killed or captured, were left by themselves. Those children then fled to Al Hol and other camps in the northeast.
The war in Syria is currently being fought between forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and several rebel Sunni groups. Assad's Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is being backed by international allies, including Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. Meanwhile, the United States, which had deployed its Army in the region to fight the Islamic State, has on several occasions carried out airstrikes against pro-Syrian government forces. Some other countries that are said to have been involved are Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel.