On France 5, the “ghost children” of Daesh at the heart of a documentary – Liberation

This Sunday, April 2, France 5 is broadcasting Hélène Lam Trong’s documentary on the children of French jihadists detained in open-air prisons in Syria. Families, lawyers, authorities… The journalist gives voice to those who are fighting for their repatriation.

A camp surrounded by fences. Children playing. The first images of Hélène Lam Trong’s documentary are shocking, showing the absurdity of the situation. Since the fall of the Islamic State in 2019, hundreds of children have grown up locked up, awaiting uncertain repatriation that the French state is slow to put in place. “Three years, four years, sometimes five years, it’s the time of a childhood. It’s their childhood.” denounces Marie Dosé, a lawyer who has made their return her fight. Born of French parents – and for some on the spot – left voluntarily in the territories controlled by jihadist groups, these “ghost children” are paying today for faults they did not commit.

Hope too often supplanted by disillusion

Throughout the film, the testimonies follow one another. Families who wonder about the reasons that pushed their loved ones to leave for Syria, and about those that prevent the French state from repatriating them. Families who fought in the hope of seeing or meeting their grandchildren, cousins, nephews and nieces, with whom they sometimes kept in touch by messages, voice or written. A hope too often supplanted by disillusion. Like in 2019, when the planned repatriation of French jihadists – and their families – was suddenly canceled at the last moment.

The film retraces the past five years, during which condemnations against France for its refusal to repatriate families from Syria have accumulated. The latest comes from the UN Committee against Torture, which was seized in 2019 for the violation of Articles 2 and 16 of the Convention against Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. An international pressure which made it possible to operate a change in the policy of the government, and the repatriation of some of these families. Until then, it was a case-by-case policy that was conducted.

Without news of their children

But other families remain without news of their children. Several dozen of them are still prisoners in Syria, in the oblivion and violence of their camps, like that of Roj, presented in the documentary. Or that of Al-Hol, which has more than 53,000 people, half of whom are under 12 years old. As Hélène Lam Trong points out, “They have now spent more time in the camps than under Daesh”.

Daesh, the ghost children written and directed by Hélène Lam Trong, this Sunday April 2 at 9 p.m. on France 5, in the world in front, presented by Mélanie Taravant.

Source: Libération by www.liberation.fr.

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