Robert Harneis –TDO- (FRANCE) François Molins, France’s senior prosecutor, has warned against having any ‘naivety’ towards the French nationals who may be returning to France from the jihadist zones where Islamist groups are losing ground in Syria and Iraq, saying they are ‘people who are disappointed, rather than repentant’.

Molins is the Procurer of the Republic for the Paris High Court. He is France’s senior terrorism prosecutor. He has taken charge of the investigations of the major terrorist attacks since his appointment, notably the Charlie Hebdo assassinations, the Paris attacks of the 15th November 2015 and the attack on the 14th July at Nice.

He has released figures relating to French jihadists and their families in Iraq and Syria.

In an interview with French radio broadcaster France Info on Friday, he discussed the French nationals who have left France to wage jihad in Iraq and Syria, including many women and the children being raised in these jihadist families.

Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the returnees would be carefully reviewed on a “case by case” basis.

According to French intelligence services, 690 French nationals are currently fighting in Iraq and Syria

Of those, 295 are women

Some 28 French jihadist fighters are minors under the age of 15

An estimated 400 children have either been born into French jihadist families in Iraq and Syria or have been brought to these countries by their parents

A total of 398 French nationals have so far returned from the jihadist hotspots, and all of them have been placed under formal investigation

Of those, 260 are currently in pre-trial detention and 138 are under judicial supervision, meaning they must regularly report to the authorities.

This firm reaction by the French authorities is in contrast with the laxism that made no moves to stop the jihadists leaving in the first place. In fact, the whole attitude of the French government in the early stages of the war in Syria would have encouraged young French Muslims to go and fight, much as young left wingers left to fight in Spain in the 1930s. Notably Laurent Fabius then Foreign Minister allowed himself to be quoted without contradiction effectively calling for the assassination of Bachar al Assad. He also allowed himself to be associated with the statement ‘Al Nusrah is doing a good job.’

It is difficult to disagree with the comment of a French website ‘We understand the distress of the parents who have lost a child to this this very confused conflict, where disinformation has reached new heights, but we cannot accept the double game of those in power in France, who armed the ‘rebels’, weakened the Syrian government, and now lecture the apprentices of the French Islamism.’

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