In 2013 Tatiana Wielandt and Bouchra Abouallal left Antwerp for Syria together with their husbands and one child each. Their men were members of the terrorist group Sharia4Belgium. They fought in Syria with the terrorist group Majlis Shura Al-Mujahedin and were sentenced in absentia in Antwerp in 2015.
When the two men died in Syria, their wives were highly pregnant. Abouallal was also wounded by a grenade attack. In 2014 they each returned to Belgium with their first child and the help of the Belgian authorities. They each gave birth to their second child. In the summer of 2015, the two women and their two children returned to Syria in IS territory. They both became pregnant again with their third child in Syria. They were both sentenced to five years in prison and fined 8,000 euros for participating in the activities of a terrorist group.
Not the first time
The women escaped from a prison camp in Ain Issa, in northern Syria, at the beginning of October. That camp was until recently guarded by the Kurds, but they closed it after Turkey started a military offensive in the Kurdish north of Syria. Like hundreds of other foreign IS women, Belgian women managed to escape in this chaos.
The question now is : what will happen to the women and their children? The Belgian government has always been very reluctant to repatriate (the wives of) Belgian IS fighters.
Abouallal and Wielandt are not the first Belgian women of IS fighters to show up in Turkey. Fatima Benmezian (24) was arrested at the beginning of this month. She also fled from the camp of Ain Issa to Turkey.
In addition to Abouallal, Wielandt and Benmezian, Turkey claims to have four other Belgians in custody. In addition, at least two more Belgian women are said to have lost their way in Turkey, but their localisation is not known at the moment.
Convicted or not, Turkey does not seem to be planning to keep foreign IS or their families on its territories for a long time. Last week, Turkey sent IS fighters and family members back to Britain, Denmark, Germany and the USA.