Iraq to deport hundreds of IS wives to US, Europe

Iraq to deport hundreds of IS wives to US, Europe
Iraq is preparing to deport hundreds of women married to foreign Islamic State fighters, and their children, back to their countries of origin including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
2 min read
20 September, 2017
Hundreds of women traveled with male foreign fighters, some married IS members [Getty]
Iraq is set to deport 500 women who were foreign members of the Islamic State group (IS), along with their children, an official said, as authorities moved them to a detention centre in preparation for their departure.

Iraqi authorities moved the women and children from a facility south of Mosul to the centre, north of the city. 

"They are in a holding centre in Tal Kayf under the control of Iraqi security forces, so their cases can be examined before they are eventually expelled from the country," a provincial councillor from Nineveh, the region where Mosul is located, told AFP.

The spouses and their children were moved at the weekend from a camp run by international aid agencies 60km south of Mosul, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.

The Nineveh councillor said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered their transfer to the detention centre and "could be part of preparations for their departure to their countries of origin".

Hundreds of women have traveled with male foreign fighters to join the battle for a state guided by Sharia law, and some women have traveled to marry IS fighters in Iraq and Syria.

The Norwegian Refugee Council said in a statement that it has "grave fears" for the condition and safety of the group of women and children, because of their suspected ties to IS.

"These women and children are extremely vulnerable. Regardless of what their family members may be accused of, they have a right to protection and assistance," Julie Davidson of the NRC said in a statement.

The group comprises 509 women and 813 children, from 13 different countries across Europe, Asia and North America.

The NRC said that most of them came from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Russia.

Iraqi forces have rounded up IS fighters, both women and men, in the campaign to liberate Mosul. Authorities said last week that they were holding some 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected IS fighters in a camp, many of them from Russia, Turkey and Central Asia.