In Lyon, the families of the 200 French children in Syria denounce a government which wants to “make them invisible”
“Get us out of here” is the message Marc and his company received from their grandchildren locked up in camps in Syria. For more than 3 years, nearly 200 French children and their surviving mothers in the Roj and Al-Hol camps in the Kurdish northeast of Syria. “Their only crime is to be born of parents who left for jihad”declares Hubert Julien-Laferrière, ecologist deputy of the Rhône.
The United Families collective, which brings together more than 100 families whose children are detained in the camps, is launching an appeal for repatriation supported by 175 French elected officials and supported by a platform signed by 75 personalities.
“Make Invisible” children
It is a chilling testimony given by Marc, a destitute grandfather and member of the United Families collective, to raise awareness. “Our four grandchildren have been locked up in a camp in Syria for 1501 days, we have not been able to repatriate them”, he introduces.
All the French families have been gathered in the Roj camp since the capture of Baghouz. Marc’s 4 grandchildren arrived in the camp in 2018, the eldest was 8 years old, the second less than 4 years old, the 3rd less than 2 years old and finally the last, was born on site in precarious conditions. “They were lucky, so to speak, they didn’t spend months in a dungeon before being transferred to the camps when their parents went to Baghouz. They didn’t experience the intensified shelling. , the death before their eyes of their little brothers and sisters. They were not physically injured like others who carry Baghouz wounds in their chair.”
“We wrote to the President of the Republic, the answer was clear: France will not intervene because it has no relations with the country.” Except that, according to him, France was present in Syria and had relations with the Kurdish authorities and Kamichi. “They live in tents, have no school, are poorly cared for, obviously have no psychological support and live in insecurity every day with the rapid return of Daesh”he explains. “The only thing that evolves is that the children grow up. We see our grandchildren grow up and survive in these camps”, he continues.
“Absolutely nothing has changed in the attitude of the French government. This shows total disregard for the international life of these children and for France’s commitments. We are facing a wall of the state”denounces Mark. “The love for these children and our grandchildren carries us. Our fight will not stop until they return. They want to make them invisible but we will continue. Especially since now we are supported It’s only children who are victims and innocents”adds the company of Marc and grandmother, overwhelmed by emotion.
Of “political fight” a “humanity” : “Who are we yelling at?”
A sponsorship system has been set up for French children in the camps. “Thanks to sponsorship, we want to show them that there is another France that thinks of them and awaits them. We live in a country in which we must remember what humanity is, what children are”speaks, in tears, Sophia Aram, actress and columnist. “We shouldn’t keep our mouths shut, there should be a lot more of us. Let’s repatriate them, we can’t be afraid of our children, they live in inhuman conditions. I want to yell at them, I don’t don’t even know to whom, because nobody makes a decision. This is not a political fight but of humanity. We should all collectively be ashamed of this situation”says Sophia Aram.
“Who are we yelling at? The President of the Republic. I wrote to the Quai d’Orsay, I was told that the decision would be taken at the Elysée. Since then, I write every week on a woman, a child, and I wait while they are dying”does not hesitate to point the finger at Marie Dosé, lawyer at the Paris Bar.
“France is one of the few countries that has not initiated a repatriation process denying children’s right to life, even in defiance of security. Anti-terrorist specialists affirm it: leave these children for years in camps while Daesh is coming back in force, it’s letting them grow in hatred of France”denounces Hubert Julien-Laferrière. “France and Spain remain inflexible while Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium have started repatriations and are continuing them. Our grandchildren do not understand why their friends from other countries are returning and not them. They wonder what they do there, why they pay more than the others”add Marc before specifying: “The children present in the camps all arrived very young, even were born there, their memory of Syria is not Daesh.”
According to them, no repatriation should take place without the mothers so as not to destabilize the children, for whom they are the only emotional source they have known in recent years. They notify, during the press point, that all the mothers of the children are in the courts and want to face justice to return to France and protect their children.
The failure of the 2018 repatriation plan: “France is creating a nightmare for families”
“There was a repatriation plan in 2018. The plan was operational, I have it in my office, it provides everything, even the plane number by which they were to return. After information leaked, we postponed for security issues. At the time of this report, a poll came out and two-thirds of French people were not in favor of repatriation. At the time of this new report, the yellow vests and then the health crisis meant that the President couldn’t risk a lack of popularity for re-election. Here’s how it went”assures the lawyer.
According to her, France has tried to play the “case by case” card to repatriate orphans. “You saved yourself, you’re out of luck, your mother is alive so you’re dying. That was the idea.” A moving image. “We offer martyrs on a platter to Daesh, we are so afraid that we prefer to give arms to this ideology. We manufacture the worst”add before concluding “France is creating a nightmare for families.”
Since January 2021, France has not organized any repatriation.