The German foreign ministry announced that eight women who joined the ISIS terror group and 23 children were brought back to the country from northern Syria overnight, considered to be the biggest evacuation since 2019.
"The children are not responsible for their situation... the mothers will have to answer for their acts," Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement, adding that "many of them were held in custody on arrival in Germany."
Maas said he was "happy" to have brought back people especially children to Germany, identified "as being in particular need of protection."
"They are mostly sick children or those with a guardian in Germany, as well as their brothers and sisters and their mothers," the foreign he said.
Germany also said that three women and 14 children were transferred to Denmark as part of the same operation, which was carried out with US military assistance.
The women are aged between 30 and 38 and come from several regions around Germany, Der Spiegel weekly reported.
In December 2020, Germany and Finland completed their last combined repatriation, bringing back five women and 18 children.