Minister: US helped repatriation of 11 Kosovars from Syria

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo’s interior minister said Monday that the repatriation of 11 of the European nation’s citizens from Syria was made “in close cooperation” with the United States.

Six men, one woman and four children arrived in Kosovo on Saturday from conflict zones in Syria.

Authorities “undertake all the necessary actions with the appropriate institutions to offer full support for their rehabilitation and re-integration into the society,” Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla said.

The minister indicated, however, that the adults would be investigated for possible prosecution.

“All persons who have taken part in fighting at the conflict zones have committed crimes, and those who have been involved in terrorist organizations also will face justice,” he said.

Kosovo Police Director General Samedin Mehmeti said 253 Kosovar people – 130 men, 39 women and 84 children – have returned from Syria and Iraq in recent years and fewer than 80 Kosovars remain in the Mideast countries. Authorities have said more than 400 citizens of Kosovo left to join extremist groups in 2013-2014.

Two years ago, Kosovo repatriated 110 citizens from Syria, mostly women and children, with the assistance of the United States. Many of the adults have already been charged for terrorism-linked activities and are serving prison sentences.

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