At least six German children of Islamic State members who fought in Syria – including babies – are currently in detention centres in Iraq. The German government wants to bring them back to Germany.

Diplomats with Germany’s foreign ministry reportedly requested exit permits from the Iraqi government for the children.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), the foreign ministry justified the decision to bring the children home by citing humanitarian considerations and Germany’s duty to protect its citizens. They also argued that the children would be better cared for by their relatives in Germany than in the detention centres.

Diplomats were able to visit the mothers and children in detention, where the women asked them to fly their children home.

So far, Iraqi authorities have not made a decision on letting the children go back to Germany.

The women were reportedly arrested after security forces reclaimed the territories Islamic State once called its caliphate.

The children were either brought to Syria by their mothers after they pledged allegiance to Islamic State or they were born in the conflict zone.