23 May 2019

Kosovo brings back 110 citizens including jihadists

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Kosovo has brought back 110 of its citizens from Syria, mostly mothers and their children but also several jihadist fighters. reports citing foreign media.

The group contained 74 children, 32 women and four men suspected of fighting for the Islamic State group (IS) who were arrested on arrival.

They flew back with the help of the US military before police escorted them to an army barracks near Pristina.

The issue of repatriations has come to the fore since the collapse of IS.

"An important and sensitive operation was organised in which the government of Kosovo, with the help of the [US], has returned 110 of its citizens from Syria," Kosovo's Justice Minister, Abelard Tahiri, said on Saturday.

"We will not stop before bringing every citizen... back to their country and anyone that has committed any crime or was part of these terrorist organisations will face justice," he added.

Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is 90% Muslim.

More than 300 of its citizens have travelled to Syria since 2012, according to government figures. This number includes 70 men who were killed fighting alongside jihadist groups, Reuters news agency reports.

Police say 30 Kosovan fighters, 49 women and 8 children still remain in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.

2019.04.20 / 23:17
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