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Following the news that five British children and a woman will be repatriated to the UK, James Denselow, Head of Conflict and Humanitarian Advocacy at Save the Children UK, said:

This repatriation is welcome news. All children, including those of British families in these camps, are innocent victims of the conflict. They are swept up in horrific events far beyond their control and their short lives have been full of violence and fear.

This shows that bringing British children home is possible. What’s needed is the will to do it. We hope the UK government will work to urgently and safely repatriate the rest of the British children and their families that remain trapped in camps in northeast Syria.

Almost 8,000 children from an estimated 60 countries, in addition to Syrian and Iraqi children,* remain in Roj and Al Hol camps, where the risks to children have only become greater due to a recent outbreak of cholera and increasing violence and insecurity. 

Like millions of Syrian children, British children have lived through conflict, bombardment, and acute deprivation. They need specialised help to recover from their experiences and return to normality, which is impossible in overwhelmed displacement camps in a volatile conflict zone. The UK’s political leaders must now do everything possible to ensure these children have the support and care they need. All children deserve the same.

*Syrian and Iraqi women and children make up the majority of the population in the camps – many of whom arrived there when they fled from violence and conflict caused by ISIS. Those from the other estimated 60 countries are commonly referred to as third country nationals and are those who lived in areas controlled by ISIS and were moved to the camps after military campaigns to dislodge ISIS.