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Report: Children returning to Finland from ISIS

A Helsinki city social worker told local media firm Lännen Media (LM) that kids with Finnish roots are returning from Syria.

Isis-vaimo haastattalussa
Sanna, a woman claiming to be a Finn, told news agency AFP she hoped to return to Finland with her children. Image: AFP

Kids with Finnish roots are returning from Syria, Jonna Vanhanen, a senior social worker with the city of Helsinki, told local media conglomerate Lännen Media (LM).

Vanhanen said that while the number of ISIS returnees is low now, more children could emerge as the caliphate crumbles. More than 80 people, including 30 children, have travelled from Finland to conflict areas in Syria and Iraq, according to the Finnish Security Police (SUPO).

Interior Ministry official Tarja Mankkinen told LM that municipalities should organise returnee rehabilitation, particularly for children exposed to extraordinary violence.

No free pass

Last week, the Finnish government called for the establishment of an international court in the Middle East to try those who have fought with the terror group Isis. All the Nordic countries back such a move.

Matti Tolvanen, a criminal law professor at the University of Eastern Finland, told Yle that he believed it was highly unlikely that Finland would be able to convict former ISIS fighters on terrorism charges due to the difficulty of conducting pretrial investigations in conflict zones.

Finland's Interior Minister, Kai Mykkänen, has said that while Finland will not prevent the return of nationals who left the country to fight with ISIS, it will not extend help to people who have left either.

This month CNN and other news outlets reported on a woman in a camp in eastern Syria who said she was a Finn named Sanna. She said she had gone into Isis territory with her husband and that she has several children and wants to return to Finland.

Mykkänen said Finland does not intend to help Sanna or her children return to Finland.

"We have no intention of arranging any return trips for those who have taken part in fighting for Isis," Mykkänen asserted.

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