Washington recovers 11 US citizens from Syria in largest operation to date

A child detained in al-Hol camp in al-Hasakah city, northeastern Syria - October 11, 2023 (AFP)

A child detained in al-Hol camp in al-Hasakah city, northeastern Syria - October 11, 2023 (AFP)


Today, Tuesday, May 7, the United States announced the recovery of 11 US citizens who had been stranded for years in desert camps and detention centers managed by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria.

The US State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, stated in a tweet on the “X” platform that Washington has recovered 11 US citizens, including 5 minors, in the largest single repatriation operation of US nationals from northeastern Syria to date.

As part of this operation, the United States also facilitated the repatriation of citizens from Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands.

Washington also repatriated a non-American child, a nine-year-old who is a sibling of one of the American minors who were returned from Syria.

This marks the first time the United States has welcomed a person from a war zone who is not an American citizen, according to a statement from the State Department reported by The New York Times.

The identities of the 12 individuals returned were not specified, but according to two officials who spoke to The New York Times on condition of anonymity, 10 of them were from a single family.

The family consists of an American woman named Brandi Salman and her nine American-born children, ranging in age from approximately 6 to 25 years.

The officials stated that the other two are sons of a man named Abdul Hamid al-Madioum, who was repatriated to his home country in 2020 and pleaded guilty to charges of supporting terrorism.

The United States encourages other countries to repatriate their citizens and prosecute them when appropriate.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington also helped in repatriating six Canadian citizens, four Dutch nationals, and one Finnish citizen, who returned to their countries, including eight children who were in northeastern Syria.

Many countries, especially in Europe, are hesitant to allow their citizens to return, particularly men, fearing that they might pose a security threat. Some countries are concerned that under their legal systems, imprisonment for joining the Islamic State organization would only last a few years.

Blinken believes that “the only permanent solution to the humanitarian and security crisis in displaced camps and detention centers in northeastern Syria is for countries to repatriate the refugees to their homelands and reintegrate and rehabilitate them, ensuring accountability when appropriate.”

Since 2016, the United States has repatriated 51 US citizens, including 30 children, from Syria, according to the US State Department. This number includes the 11 citizens brought back earlier today.

Approximately 45,000 people live in displaced camps in northeastern Syria, mostly women and children, with officials stating that these include about 17,000 Syrians, about 18,750 Iraqis, and about 9,000 citizens from more than 60 countries, while the SDF also detain about 8,800 adult men in their prisons, as reported by The New York Times.



النسخة العربية من المقال

Related Articles

  1. CENTCOM commander visits US bases in Syria
  2. Turkey escalates against SDF in eastern Syria; Ground and air bombardment
  3. SDF uses IS prisons as tactic against Turkish operation in northern Syria
  4. US grants $15 million for independent Syrian media, regime is angry

Propaganda distorts the truth and prolongs the war..

Syria needs free media.. We need your support to stay independent..

Support Enab Baladi..

$1 a month makes a difference..

Click here to support