19 July 2021 - Syria

North East Syria: Repatriations show giving children a future is possible with political will

A boy seen through rubble near the school, Idlib Syria

Photo: Save the Children's partner in Syria, Hurras Network.

Save the Children welcomes the repatriation of some 26 children and a number of their mothers from camps in North-East Syria to Belgium, Kosovo, Finland and North Macedonia over the past four days.

North Macedonia announced the return of 14 children and five women[i]. Belgium returned 10 children and six mothers[ii], while a mother and her two children were flown home to Finland[iii]. Meanwhile, Kosovo has not revealed the exact number of children among 11 people it repatriated[iv].

Save the Children’s Syria Response Director, Sonia Khush said:

“This is brilliant news. It shows that when the genuine political will exists, it is possible to save young and innocent lives. We also welcome the fact that mothers were repatriated along with their children. Tearing families apart can have detrimental consequences for children’s health.

“But the recent events are not enough. Countries of origin have to do more to take all children back home. Those children stuck in camps tell us how they do not even think about doing anything new in life. They can only worry about where their next meal is going to come from, and whether they will have clean water to drink or wash. No child deserves to be in these circumstances.

“We reiterate our calls for countries to make serious efforts to repatriate children safely in line with their obligations. Four countries have today shown that compassion and humanity can win, and we expect and invite others to show the same spirit.”

For more information please reach out to:

[i] https://www.rferl.org/a/north-macedonia-islamic-state-repatriation/31365674.html

[iii] https://valtioneuvosto.fi/en/-/finland-repatriated-two-children-and-one-mother-from-syria

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