PRISTINA, Kosovo — The authorities in Kosovo mentioned on Saturday that greater than 100 of their residents, principally girls and kids who had been kinfolk of jihadists, had been flown residence from Syria beneath heavy safety with the help of america.
Justice Minister Abelard Tahiri instructed journalists that “a deliberate operation to deliver again a few of our residents from Syria ended efficiently.” Officers mentioned 4 males suspected of getting been fighters with the Islamic State militant group, 32 girls and 74 youngsters had been among the many group. The 4 suspected fighters had been arrested.
9 of the kids had misplaced dad and mom throughout the preventing in Syria. Different particulars weren’t instantly launched, officers mentioned, due to “the sensitivity of the case.”
Two buses holding the ladies and kids stood for hours on the Kosovo airport earlier than being transported beneath police escort to military barracks simply outdoors Pristina, the capital. The group was taken to a middle in Vranidoll, north of town, earlier than being despatched to properties within the subsequent 72 hours, officers mentioned.
Mr. Tahiri mentioned process drive had been created in October in shut cooperation with america.
“Our message is obvious,” he mentioned. “The Kosovo authorities will strongly proceed to forestall and battle violent extremism and terrorism.”
The minister mentioned he thought-about the ladies and kids to be “harmless victims,” including that the authorities had plans to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society.
Greater than 400 Kosovars had been identified to have joined extremist teams in Syria and Iraq since 2012, in keeping with the Kosovo authorities. About 70 males who fought alongside extremist militant teams have been killed, in keeping with Reuters.
A prime police official, Rashit Qalaj, mentioned that 30 Kosovo residents had been nonetheless actively supporting the extremist teams within the area. The police mentioned that about 150 girls and kids, together with 60 youngsters born in conflict zones, had been captured for the reason that Islamic State group misplaced floor.
It remained unclear if all of them had been returned on Friday.
“We will not enable our residents to show right into a risk to the Western world,” Mr. Tahiri mentioned, including that Kosovo would take all steps required “to make sure that these accountable face the regulation,” and that “there is no such thing as a amnesty for any individual, be it a lady or a person, who has dedicated an extremist or terror act.”
Worldwide and native safety companies have beforehand warned of the danger posed by returning fighters. In 2015, Kosovo adopted a regulation making preventing in international conflicts punishable by as much as 15 years in jail, Reuters mentioned.
Kosovo’s inhabitants is nominally 90 p.c Muslim, however largely secular in outlook. There have been no Islamist assaults on its soil, in keeping with Reuters, though greater than 100 males have been jailed or indicted on fees of preventing in Syria and Iraq. A few of them had been discovered responsible of planning assaults in Kosovo.
The federal government mentioned type of radical Islam had been imported to Kosovo by nongovernmental organizations from the Center East after its conflict of secession from Serbia within the late 1990s.