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Detained Islamic State woman and child seek return to Switzerland

A veiled woman
The Swiss Muslim woman being interviewed by SRF at the Kurdish camp in northeast Syria. SRF-SWI

A Swiss Muslim woman, captured with her one-year-old child in the self-proclaimed Islamic State, has spoken of her desire to return to Switzerland. The woman and child have been detained by Kurdish forces at a camp in Syria for the last seven months.

Swiss public television SRF filmed an interview with the 29-year-old at the internment camp. “I guess I was just stupid. If you have everything you want in Switzerland, you might get bored at some point. You think, let’s go on an adventure!” she said.

The woman, who has Bosnian roots, moved from Lausanne to the Islamic State territory in 2015 together with her husband. Their daughter was born there in April 2017 and they were all captured in January. “I know it’s naive, but we thought life there would be pleasant. You get a house, you get money. But when you arrive, you realise everything is a lie.”

The Kurdish authorities confirmed to SRF that in addition to the woman, her daughter and husband – who is being held in a prison at a different location – they are holding two other Swiss women, thought to be from the northwestern Swiss town of Biel.

A representative of the Kurdish foreign affairs office called on Switzerland and all other countries to repatriate their citizens who have been arrested in the Islamic State. The SRF report states that there are apparent diplomatic negotiations taking place behind the scenes by the Swiss foreign ministry to see if repatriations are possible.

According to the Tages Anzeiger newspaper, which also interviewed the woman, she would welcome a return to Switzerland even if it resulted in a Swiss prison term. Both she and her husband have been under investigation by Swiss prosecutors since they left for IS. 

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR