Three women and a young child are being held in Syria after being captured in the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East. The Swiss foreign office confirmed to Swiss public television SRF that Swiss nationals are among a large number of detainees.
Two of the women, aged 24 and 36, are from Biel in northwestern Switzerland but left the country to live in IS in 2014. The third woman (29) is from Lausanne in the western French speaking part of the country. She and her partner, a jihadist fighter, moved to IS a year later, according to SRF.
They are said to have had connections with a woman recently deported back to her native Colombia after plotting terrorist activities in Switzerland.
All are known to the Swiss authorities and are the subject of investigations by the Attorney General’s office.
One of the women has a daughter who is described as being more than one year of age. Relatives told SRF that they feared for the safety of both mother and child.
The trio of women and child have been held in an internment camp in Syria by Kurdish forces since last autumn. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that some 1,600 people, the majority of them women and children, have been interned in the region in northeastern Syria that is controlled by Kurdish forces.
While the foreign ministry said it was aware of Swiss citizens being held in Syria it did not give details of who they are or if they are in contact with them.