Relatives of German IS fighters stage protest in Berlin

German parents and relatives of Islamic State militants demonstrated Monday outside the foreign ministry, urging the government to repatriate wives and children of fighters held in Syria.

Relatives of German IS fighters stage protest in Berlin
Intessar Aataba shows a photo of her grandchild on her phone. She was demonstrating in Berlin for the repatriation of German IS fighters' children. Photo: DPA

Some brought posters saying “Children are not responsible”, while others held up banners reading “Innocent German children will die and the state is just watching”.

SEE ALSO: Islamic State children repatriated to Germany from Iraq

“I want my grandchildren to leave Syria and come to Hamburg, to live normally, to go to the nursery, to be protected, to be able to hug them, to have food, to be warm, and to love them,” said Intessar Aataba, 51, who is the grandmother of a three-year-old and a year-old toddler born in Syria.

Another protester who identified himself as Shawani, 55, pleaded for his three grandchildren, aged two, three and four, to be repatriated.

“Why blame the grandchildren? What are they guilty of? I don't understand,” he said.

German IS fighters' children in Syria

According to the Interior Ministry, at least 59 children of German jihadists were still in Syria at the end of March.

With the collapse of the last IS bastion in Syria last month, the fate of foreign fighters and their families has become a significant problem for governments as the conflict draws to a close.

SEE ALSO: 'I was a little bit naive': German woman flees IS

US President Donald Trump has called for European allies to take back hundreds of IS fighters who were captured in recent months in Syria.

The alternative is to hold them long-term in camps or prisons in Syria or Iraq, but that would need financing.

Germany has begun repatriating from Iraq several children of jailed jihadists since early April.

The Foreign Ministry has said it was aware of cases of German nationals in custody in northern Syria, but added that it did not have direct consular access to them as the embassy in Damascus has been closed.

Nevertheless, the government is looking for ways to repatriate the German nationals.

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Jihadist’s wife sentenced in Germany for enslaving Yazidi girl

A German court sentenced the wife of rapper-turned-jihadist to three and a half years in prison for having taken part in the enslavement of a Yazidi girl in Syria.

Jihadist's wife sentenced in Germany for enslaving Yazidi girl
Omaima A. in a Hamburg court in May. Photo: DPA

Named by the court as Omaima A., 36, the German-Tunisian woman was found guilty of belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group by a regional court in Hamburg.

The judges also found her in violation of her duty as a mother by taking her three small children to a war zone, and of a war weapons control act for use of a Kalashnikov rifle.

Early in 2015, the woman and her three children joined her first husband in IS-controlled areas in Syria.

After his death, she married a notorious Berlin gangster rapper who had joined the ranks of the jihadist group.

The rapper Denis Cuspert, better known under his pseudonym “Deso Dogg”, had joined IS in 2014. According to media reports, he was killed during an air attack in 2018 in Syria.

The judges found the defendant to be complicit in the enslavement of a 13-year-old girl from the Yazidi minority community.

In the trial, Omaima A. said that she “made a serious mistake five years ago”, public broadcaster NDR reported, when she joined her first husband in Raqqa, then the capital of IS in Syria.

She claimed that the Yazidi girl was a “guest” in their house.

READ ALSO: Widow of German rapper turned IS fighter arrested in Hamburg

“I apologise to her for not having been able to help her,” the woman said.

But the public prosecutor's office said that she had never truly broken with the jihadist organisation.

Her lawyer argued that she had been content to maintain the home and look after her children without supporting the militant actions of her two husbands.

Two other trials are being held in Germany in connection with abuses committed against the Yazidis.

A German woman has been in the dock since April 2019 for war crimes and murder, accused of having left a five-year-old Yazidi girl dying of thirst in Iraq.

Linked to the same crime, an Iraqi man has been on trial since last April in Frankfurt for murder and genocide, reportedly unprecedented against a member of IS.

The Islamic State group committed atrocities against the Yazidis in 2014 that are being investigated by the UN to determine whether they can be qualified as genocide.