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Kosovo Repatriates Families of Militants from Syria

Kosovo Repatriates Families of Militants from Syria

Saturday, 20 April, 2019 - 09:30
A woman looks through a chain linked fence at al-Hol displacement camp in Hasaka governorate, Syria March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah. “
Asharq Al-Awsat

Dozens of women and children, relatives of Kosovo militants fighting in Syria, were flown back home by plane on Saturday under heavy security.

"Today, in the early hours of the morning, a very sensitive and important operation was conducted with the help of the United States in which the Kosovar government repatriated 110 citizens from the war zone in Syria," Mustice Minister Abelard Tahiri told a news conference.

After hours at the airport, two buses with women and children were transported under police escort to army barracks just outside Pristina.

More than 300 Kosovo citizens, men, women and children, have traveled to Syria since 2012. Some 70 men who fought alongside extremist groups were killed.

Police said some 150 women and children, including around 60 children who were born in war zones, were captured as ISIS lost ground.

It remained unclear if all of them were returned on Friday.

Neither the minister nor police gave any details if any militants were also returned.

International and local security agencies have previously warned of the risk posed by returning extremists. In 2015, Kosovo adopted a law making fighting in foreign conflicts punishable by up to 15 years in jail.

More than 100 men have been jailed or indicted on charges of fighting in Syria and Iraq. Some of them were found guilty of planning attacks in Kosovo.

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