Nine Ukrainians who were in Syrian refugee camps return home – Office of President
Nine Ukrainian citizens returned to Kyiv on December 31 after they were in camps for civilians in northeastern Syria.
"Two adults and seven small children have returned home," the press service of the Office of the President said on Friday morning.
Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov, Defense Minister Andriy Taran and other government officials met them at the Boryspil international airport.
Thus, on Thursday, the evacuation stage of a complex operation to return Ukrainian citizens who were in Syrian refugee camps was actually completed. Their relatives in Ukraine applied to the authorities with a request for evacuation.
"In June 2019, a special working group was created, which included representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine. The task of this group was to organize the evacuation of our compatriots and their children. The counterintelligence of the SBU was involved in the development of the return plan," the press service said.
The Office of the President said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Syria and Iraq created significant restrictions and interrupted air traffic, so this significantly delayed the completion of the special operation. It became possible to resume the evacuation procedure only after the epidemiological situation in these countries stabilized.
Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Roman Mashovets said that the freed women and children stayed in the camps in Syria in terrible conditions.
The Office of the President assured that the work on the release of other Ukrainians in the Syrian camps will continue.
The press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine also reported that the returned Ukrainians will be assisted in adapting to ordinary life, including with the involvement of the capabilities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.
More Ukrainian citizens, including Crimean Tatars, are staying in refugee camps in Syria. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Office of the President of Ukraine, other public bodies, shall make every effort to ensure their return to their homeland. The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people shall be also actively involved," the ministry said.