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Kosovo repatriates 110 Syrian nationals

2019-04-20T15:30:37.001Z

The Kosovar authorities announced on Saturday (April 20th) the repatriation of 110 people from Syria, mostly children and women who had followed their companions fighting in the ranks of the Islamic State organization. Returnees ...


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A Kosovo policeman stands guard in front of a detention center in the village of Vranidoll on 20 April 2019. Armend NIMANI / AFP

The Kosovar authorities announced on Saturday (April 20th) the repatriation of 110 people from Syria, mostly children and women who had followed their companions fighting in the ranks of the Islamic State organization. Repatriated by plane in the night from Istanbul, the group was taken to the reception center of Vranidoll, about ten kilometers from the Kosovar capital, Pristina.

It was after a very delicate operation finalized last October and led by the United States that the Kosovar government was able to announce Saturday the return to the country of 110 of its nationals.

" Early this morning, on April 20, 2019, 110 Kosovo nationals were repatriated from the conflict zone in Syria ," said Kosovar police commander Rashit Qalaj. Among them, 4 fighters, 32 women and 74 children, 9 of whom lost their parents in the war . "

According to the Ministry of the Interior, some 300 Kosovars have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq in the ranks of jihadists. About 70 would have lost their lives, another 120 would have returned before Saturday and would be currently incarcerated.

" Our goal was not only to prevent our citizens from participating in foreign conflicts ," said Abelard Tahiri, Kosovo's Minister of Justice. It is also to act concretely to allow those who have found themselves in these areas to return home. We have worked for months to reach this goal. "

Kosovo, 90% Muslim, is in proportion to its population (1.8 million), the European country that provided the largest contingent of jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria.

The country adopted in March 2015 a more severe law to prevent the recruitment of jihadists: up to 15 years in prison for its nationals who go to fight abroad.

Source: rfi

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