An 11-year-old boy has returned to Italy years after his mother had taken him to Syria to join the ISIS terrorist group. Alvin was found at the Al Hol refugee camp in northern Syria, which hosts around 70,000 people, mainly family members of suspected Isis fighters. The boy's mother, Valbona Berisha, allegedly died in an explosion. Alvin was met at the Fiumicino airport in Rome by his father and sisters on 8th November, according to Italian news agency Ansa. His family members hugged him and gave him some toys he used to play with before he left his home.

Italian and Albanian authorities, aided by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), located Alvin earlier this year. The boy no longer speaks Italian, but only Arabic and Albanian. "Our Syrian Red Crescent volunteers escorted the boy from Al-Hol to Damascus," an IFRC spokesman told AFP. Alvin then travelled to Lebanon and Italy. This is believed to be the first repatriation of this kind since a Turkish offensive on Kurds-controlled territories in Syria began in October. Kurdish authorities have repeatedly urged western countries to repatriate people who are linked to Isis, according to AFP.

'Parental radicalisation'

Alvin and his mother vanished from Barzago, northern Italy, in December 2014 after the woman had decided to fight alongside ISIS members.

The boy was aged 6 at the time. Alvin's father immediately started looking for his son and wife upon disappearance. He travelled to Syria on different occasions, searching for his family members. The man managed to speak with his son after locating him at the refugee camp. On that occasion, Alvin allegedly explained to his father hat his mother had changed his name to Yusuf and forced him to attend training sessions to learn how to fight and use weapons.

Berisha, of Albanian origins, was described as a housewife who had been living in Italy since 2000. Well integrated into Italian society, she later became an “extremist”. The woman travelled to Syria after allegedly getting in touch with senior Isis members, one of whom allegedly bought plane tickets for her and her son.

"Many children who find themselves in Daesh [ISIS] territory, like 11 years old Alvin, are victims of parental radicalisation," David Otto, a UK-based counter-terrorism expert, told Blasting News.

"Parents are brainwashed into joining Daesh and take their children with them in the hope that they are moving to some ideal Caliphate.

"These children are victims and they need urgent treatment in the form of rehabilitation and reintegration. Governments must take responsibility and bring these victimised children into a world of compassion and love. The younger they are, the easier it is to turn risk into promise,” he concluded.