Morocco repatriates eight alleged militants from Syria

Um Walaa, originally from Morocco with French nationality, and widow of an Daesh fighter, is seen near Baghouz, Syria in this still image taken from a video shot on March 5, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 10 March 2019
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Morocco repatriates eight alleged militants from Syria

  • Many of those flooding out of Daesh territory are foreign fighters and their families — including some Moroccan women
  • Sunday’s operation had a “humanitarian character” and allowed the Moroccans to return to their home country safely

RABAT: Morocco said Sunday it had repatriated eight of its nationals from Syria, who will be investigated for “suspected involvement in acts linked to terrorism.”
“The competent Moroccan authorities proceeded on March 10 to repatriate a group of eight Moroccan citizens who were in conflict zones in Syria,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launched a final offensive against the Daesh group’s last redoubt in the east of the war-torn country a month ago.
Backed by an international military coalition, the SDF has arrested thousands of Daesh extremists who have fled the shrinking stronghold.
Many of those flooding out of Daesh territory are foreign fighters and their families — including some Moroccan women, according to AFP journalists on the ground.
The SDF wants foreign fighters and their families to be repatriated by their countries of origin.
Sunday’s operation had a “humanitarian character” and allowed the Moroccans to return to their home country safely, the ministry added.
In 2015, the number of Moroccans in extremist ranks in Iraq and Syria was estimated at more than 1,600.
Those who return are arrested and receive sentences of 10 to 15 years in prison.
Syria’s multi-fronted war has killed more than 360,000 and displaced millions since it erupted in the wake of the government’s bloody repression of street protests in 2011.


Iranian FM in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart as part of regional tour

Updated 58 min 16 sec ago
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Iranian FM in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi counterpart as part of regional tour

  • During his his two-day visit, Zarif will also meet the Iraqi president and Iraqi prime minister
  • Discussions will mainly focus on the current crisis and its impacts on the two countries

BAGHDAD: Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif landed in Baghdad on Saturday for talks with his Iraqi counterpart, an Arab News reporter confirmed.

During his his two-day visit, Zarif will also meet the Iraqi president and Iraqi prime minister. On Sunday morning, Zarif will meet several senior politicians before he heads to Najaf to meet some clerics, sources told Arab News.

The discussions will mainly focus on the current crisis and its impacts on the two countries in addition to possible options to reinforce the attempts to start dialogues with the related sides to reach a compromise or solutions for the current standoff between Iran and US.

The Iranian official will leave Iraq on Monday. Zarif's tour will also include trips to Turkey, India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Iran's deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi will begin a separate tour on Sunday which will see him visit Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, according to Iranian news sources.