Sweden repatriated two women and four children from northeastern Syria on Thursday, the day after the area’s Kurdish-clad authorities announced the end of a prison deal that killed many.
Kurdish-led authorities administering the Al-Hol and Roj camps have long called on countries to take back their citizens [AFP via Getty]
Sweden repatriated two women and four children from northeastern Syria on Thursday, the day after the area’s Kurdish-clad authorities announced the end of a deadly prison settlement in the city of Hasakeh.
The six Swedes were met at Stockholm Airport Arlanda by the authorities, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said SVT.
The women were arrested by the police on suspicion of war crimes, the prosecutor’s office states, while the children were taken in by the social services.
The Al-Hol and Roj camps in Hasakeh province in northeastern Syria are home to about 60,000 people, mostly women and children who are relatives of Islamic State (IS) fighters, from dozens of countries around the world.
Human rights groups and the Kurdish-led authorities that administer the dangerous camps have long called on countries to take back their citizens. Western European countries have backed the repatriations with reference to security risks.
Swedish women and children are being held in the Roj camp, home to “lower-risk” foreign nationals.
According to figures from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 Swedish citizens – ten women and 20 children – were held at the camp in Roj, before two repatriations took place in the autumn of 2021.
Three women and six children were repatriated from northeastern Syria in September 2021. Another three women and eight children were repatriated in October.
It told the Foreign Ministry The New Arab in September that there was “some uncertain and unconfirmed information about a small number of women and children connected to Sweden in al-Hollägret”.
It said it had “no information to share” about Swedish citizens being held in prisons in northeastern Syria.
UNICEF on Thursday called on countries to repatriate children held in camps and prisons in northeastern Syria, following a six-day conflict between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and IS fighters for control of the Ghwayran prison that left at least 180 people dead and 6,000 people.
Nearly 850 children were captured in the prison during the siege, with rights groups warning that some of them were injured and without food and water.
“UNICEF calls on all member states involved to take urgent action and responsibility for the best interests of the children and to bring children and their mothers back to their country of origin,” the United Nations Children’s Organization said in a press release. statement.