ERBIL — Iraq's Foreign Ministry has called on all countries to repatriate the family members of foreign Islamic State (IS) jihadists held in Iraq.
The call was made by Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein during a meeting with his Belgian counterpart Sophie Wilmès on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Sunday.
FM Wilmès commended Iraq's efforts to communicate with many countries for the purpose of securing the return of the families of "terrorists" detained in Iraq, including mothers, and their children who were born in the country,” Iraq's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
However, the statement further noted that some countries have shown readiness to repatriate the children of the IS fighters only, and often leaving their mothers behind.
The Iraqi Foreign Minister highlighted the importance of concerted international efforts for finding a solution to this problem, and called on the countries to understand the circumstances of Iraq and remember that Baghdad has no choice but "to deal with them [terrorists’ families] according to Iraqi laws and legislations."
The Islamic State attacked Iraq in 2014 and overran a vast area of the country. After three years, the jihadist group was announced as "defeated" while tens of thousands of family members of the insurgents were detained by the Iraqi security forces.
Since then, Baghdad has often called on different countries to repatriate the families of the jihadists who are held in Iraq. However, many countries have so far remained unwilling to repatriate their nationals.