ISIS Women Deported to Sweden Were Too Dangerous to Keep in Syria

Women and a child queue to receive humanitarian aid packages at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp, which holds relatives of suspected Islamic State (IS) group fighters, in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh governorate on August 18, 2021. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Documents from the Swedish state department reveal that Kurdish authorities wanted Sweden to take back Islamic State women from prison camps as they deemed them too dangerous to remain in Syria.

On September 5th, three Islamic State women and their children were secretly repatriated from Syria to Sweden, two of them were immediately arrested upon arrival on suspicion of participating in war crimes.

The released documents reveal that Kurdish authorities and the Swedish government worked intensively together in the early months of this year to repatriate the three women and their children and show some of the concerns of Kurdish authorities regarding them, newspaper Aftonbladet reports.

“The authorities have strong reasons to regard these women as active threats to security, law, and order,” the Swedish document states and notes that the women, along with their children, are banned from ever returning to northeastern Syria for the rest of their lives.

Correspondence between Swedish ambassador Fredrik Florén and Abdul Karim Omar, representative of the administration ruling northern Syria, revealed that the Kurds had attempted to gather evidence of the women’s crimes but had not had enough to bring them to court.

Interior Minister Mikael Damberg later spoke about the case against the Islamic State women after they had arrived in Sweden and confirmed that Kurdish authorities had made attempts to gather evidence against them.

“If there are reasons to suspect a crime, a preliminary investigation will be opened. It is important to say that although the Kurdish authorities have not found enough evidence to initiate legal proceedings against them, there is no statute of limitations for many of these serious crimes for which they can be suspected,” Mr Damberg said.

Prosecutions against returning Islamic State members have been difficult for Swedish authorities, with terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp stating in 2019 that Islamic State women should not be allowed back into Sweden at all due to the lack of laws to prosecute them.

In March, it was revealed that no one had been charged under Sweden’s anti-terrorism law, which allows for the prosecution of people for being members of a terrorist group, despite being in place for a year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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