Albania says repatriation of 5 from Syria a 'great step'

Albania's prime minister says the repatriation of four children and a woman related to Albanian nationals who joined Islamic extremist groups in Syria “is a great step,” to be followed by more repatriations

Lebanon Albania Syria Children
Lebanon Albania Syria Children

The repatriation of four children and a woman related to Albanian nationals who joined Islamic extremist groups in Syria “is a great step” to be followed by more repatriations Albania's prime minister said Tuesday.

Edi Rama would not reveal the number of Albanian nationals still in Syria but he said they have been identified and “we are well prepared to take the next step and to get back the other children.”

“We have already made the right step to document everything and now we need to do the right push and I’m very optimistic that this will come very soon,” he said.

Rama spoke to The Associated Press at Beirut airport before flying out with the group of five who were repatriated from the Syrian camp of al-Hol in the war-ravaged country's northeast.

He said the group were now “in a new phase of their life” and would require health and mental care to deal with their trauma and reintegrate and resume their normal life.

The return of the five to the Albanian capital of Tirana was arranged after a year of negotiations, Rama said earlier. Relatives who remained in Albania say 52 children are in the camps but Rama could not give an exact number.

A few hundred Albanian men joined the Islamic State and other groups fighting in Syria and Iraq in the early 2010s. Many were killed, and their wives and children are stuck in Syrian camps.

Rama said Lebanon's intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim played a key role in the repatriation. The official has been instrumental in negotiations that secured the release of hostages from Syria.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in