Kosovo repatriates 110 citizens from Syria - GulfToday

Kosovo repatriates 110 citizens from Syria

Kosovo-syrian-family

A Kosovan officer looks at a child at a foreign detention centre in Vranidoll on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Kosovo brought back 110 of its citizens from Syria on Saturday including militants who had gone to fight in the country’s civil war and 74 children, the government said.

Separately, a Bosnian national suspected of fighting for Daesh in Syria has been transferred to Bosnia and put in detention, Bosnia’s prosecutor’s office said on Saturday.

“Today in the early hours of the morning an important and sensitive operation was organised in which the government of Kosovo with the help of the United States of America has returned 110 of its citizens from Syria,” Kosovan Justice Minister Abelard Tahiri said at a press conference.

Tahiri did not specify what role the United States had played but a plane with a US flag on its tail was seen in the cargo area of Pristina airport as the operation was ongoing.

Authorities said among those who were returned were four fighters, 32 women and 74 children, including nine without a parent.

The four fighters were immediately arrested and the state prosecutor said indictments against them will soon follow.

After several hours at the airport, two busloads of women and children were transported under police escort to an army barracks just outside Pristina. Police said 30 Kosovan fighters, 49 women and 8 children still remain in the conflict zones.

“We will not stop before bringing every citizen of the Republic of Kosovo back to their country and anyone that has committed any crime or was part of these terrorist organizations will face the justice,” Tahiri said.

“As Kosovo, we cannot allow that our citizens be a threat to the West and to our allies.” The United States commended Kosovo for the return of its citizens and called other countries to do the same.

“With this repatriation, Kosovo has set an important example for all members of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh and the international community to follow. We applaud their compassion in accepting the return of this large number of civilians,” the US Embassy in Pristina said in a statement. “IC, 24, is suspected for criminal acts of organising a terrorist group, illegal formation and of joining foreign paramilitary or para-police formations, and terrorism,” the Bosnian prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Bosnia’s state court has tried and convicted 46 people who have returned from Syria or Iraq in the past few years.

Agencies