French court rejects call to return its Syria-based citizens

PARIS (AP) — France’s most powerful administrative court on Tuesday refused the demands of Syria-based French women to be repatriated back to French soil with their families.

The Council of State rejected the calls in a short statement explaining that a French judge couldn’t make a binding decision on the issue as it involves “negotiations with foreign authorities or intervention on a foreign territory.”

The court said it “rejects the demands for repatriation made by French nationals and for their children, currently in Syria.”

At this month’s G-7 ministers’ meeting in Paris, the issue of how to deal with suspected extremists and their families from Western countries who go to Syria was a bone of contention. The U.S. has called for countries to take back their citizens and put them on trial, if necessary, but European allies have largely refused.

Also on Tuesday, attorney Fehmije Gashi Bytyqi said Kosovo police and prosecutors questioned 11 women repatriated from Syria on suspicion of links to extremist groups in Syria, but they had not yet been charged.

On Saturday, 110 Kosovar citizens — four alleged foreign fighters, 32 women and 74 children — were brought back home with the assistance of the United States, the first such move for Europe.

The four alleged foreign fighters have been arrested and sent to a high-security prison, charged with joining war zone conflicts.

The woman and children were sheltered at a camp and were expected to be released in the next few days.

Authorities say there are still 87 Kosovar citizens in Syria.

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