France has ruled out the repatriation of French jihadists and their families detained in Syria after the fall of the Islamic State group's "caliphate", Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said yesterday.
France and other European nations have been wrestling with how to handle the hundreds of foreign fighters, many of whom are being held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces which led the final push against IS.
French daily Liberation reported yesterday that in early March the government had been ready to bring home around 250 men, women and children before abandoning the plan given public hostility to the repatriations.
The issue is extremely sensitive in France, where a deadly 2015 attack on the capital claimed by IS killed 130 people and set off a wave of other deadly assaults since then.
"It's logical that our services considered all hypotheses. This was one of the hypothesis they prepared," Castaner said at a press conference following a meeting of G7 interior ministers in Paris.
"No communal repatriation was under consideration to be carried out," he said, reiterating that France would nonetheless study bringing back children of jihadist fighters on a "case-by-case basis".
Meanwhile, Germany has repatriated from Iraq several children of jailed jihadists, the foreign ministry said yesterday.