ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish-led civilian administration in northeastern Syria, officially called the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), handed over nine Swedish citizens, including three women and their six children, to a Swedish delegation on Tuesday
“This brings the total number of Swedish citizens repatriated from the NES (northeastern Syria) to 16,” says the Rojava Information Center (RIC) in Syria.
A Swedish delegation has met with AANES ‘Ministry of Foreign Affairs to repatriate 9 Swedish citizens, including 3 women and 6 children. This gives the total number of Swedish citizens repatriated from the NES to 16.
– Rojava Information Center (@RojavaIC) September 7, 2021
During the meeting, Abdul Karim Omar, Co-Chair of the External Relations Department of the Local Administration, emphasized that “if the international community does not support this area financially, there will be an opportunity for ISIS to reorganize here.”
Sweden’s ambassador Fredrik Florn thanked the Syrian Kurds on behalf of Sweden for the “sacrifices they have made in the fight against terrorism”, reports the local news agency ANHA.
“We regard you as our partners and we stand shoulder to shoulder in this struggle,” he said. “This is a very important message that I want to convey to you.”
“We understand the very difficult situation you are facing and we are very happy to work with you to address these issues of trust and cooperation,” he added.
There are fears among local officials, diplomats and humanitarian actors about deteriorating economic conditions, failed crops and increased water shortages in northeastern Syria.
There are fears that such shortcomings could lead to protests and unrest in northeastern Syria. Previously, this resulted in protests and instability in parts of Manbij and in the provinces of Deir al-Zor and Hasakah.
In addition, there is a growing international pressure for governments to bring home children who remain in the camps in which they have lived since the fall of ISIS, the so-called caliphate in early 2019.
Violence and even murder are rampant in the camps and international aid groups say the children lack the kind of support services needed to prevent them from becoming future security risks.
Both the SDF and the civilian autonomous administration in northeastern Syria have publicly called on foreign countries to return their citizens.