Boy taken by mom to join ISIS in Syria reunited with family in Italy

Anna Matranga

In mid-October, the TV show galvanized public opinion in Italy, leading to a joint effort between the International Red Cross, Red Crescent, and Italian and Albanian authorities to bring Alvin home. 

On Friday, Italian police video showed a teary reunion between the boy, his two sisters and his father at Rome's Fiumicino airport.

"We reiterate our call to governments: we cannot leave the children of al-Hol camp alone, we need the political will, we must speed up repatriation processes," tweeted Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Syria's Kurds hold thousands of foreign suspected ISIS fighters and their families in camps and prison facilities across the north of the country, including an estimated 8,000 children, more than half of them under the age of five. 

According to the United Nations, hundreds of the children are unaccompanied.

The Kurdish authorities have repeatedly asked Western countries to take back the people from their nations, but few have heeded those calls. Austria, Germany, France and Belgium have repatriated a handful of orphans, and the U.S. has repatriated several women and their children.

Italian authorities have allowed Alvin to return to Italy, although neither he nor his father have Italian citizenship.

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