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Syria war: Kosovo brings back 110 citizens, including jihadists



  Image shows a young Kosovar child looking at Kosovar police officers

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AFP

Caption

The group consisted mainly of young children and their mothers

Kosovo has brought 1

10 of its citizens from Syria, mainly mothers and their children, but also several jihadists.

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

They flew back with the help of the US military before being taken by the police to a barracks near Pristina.

Since the collapse of IS, the problem of repatriation has come to the fore.

"An important and sensitive operation was organized in which the government of Kosovo, with the help of [US]returned 110 of its citizens from Syria," said Minister of Justice Abelard Tahiri, living on October 13 in Kosovo.

"We will not stop until we return all the citizens … to their country, and anyone who has committed a crime or has been part of these terrorist groups will face justice," he added.

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

According to government figures, more than 300 citizens have traveled to Syria since 2012. According to the Reuters news agency, 70 men were killed and killed together with jihadist groups.

According to police, 30 Kosovan fighters, 49 women and 8 children are still in conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.

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A map of the verified countries of origin of children who have traveled to Iraq or Syria

In recent months, some women have pledged to return to their home countries, including the UK, US and France, to raise their children in peace.

UK and US response have excluded two mothers from return.

Shamima Begum, who came to IS in Syria at the age of 15, asked to return home shortly before the birth of a son, but the British government refused to release her.

She did not renounce her attachment to IS and the government removed her citizenship. There was much sympathy for her distress when her baby died in March.

France returned five young children of jihad fighters in the same month.

The latest returns came weeks after reports said some IS fighters had fled into the desert from Baghuz – their last fortress.

The area was declared "liberated" on March 23 by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Although the Declaration marked the last territorial victory over the group's "caliphate," experts warn that it does not mean the end of IS or its ideology.


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