Foreign Ministry: Two children to be repatriated from al-Hol camp
The Foreign Ministry said that it will provide an update when the children are safely in the care of Finnish officials.
The Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday that Finland is preparing to evacuate two Finnish children from the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria, where relatives of Isis combatants are being held.
The ministry said that to protect the children’s privacy and ensure their safety, it would not provide any public information about them. It has also classified as secret the details of official activities taking place abroad.
Once the children arrive in Finland, they will undergo health checks before being handed over to child welfare officials. Information about municipalities where the returnees will possibly be located or where they might live will not be released publicly either.
“The children are probably traumatised in different ways so they will need many kinds of support. They will receive support for their situation and development and they will be monitored long-term,” Social Affairs and Health Ministry Undersecretary Kirsi Varhila said in a statement.
On Wednesday evening, daily Helsingin Sanomat reported that an operation to evacuate Finnish citizens from al-Hol had begun with the return of two orphaned children. Yle later confirmed that Kurdish officials had picked up the children from the camp in Syria, taking them to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, where they were to be handed over to Finnish authorities..
On Monday evening Prime Minister Sanna Marin formalised the government’s position on the controversial planned repatriations, saying that Finland would return the children “as soon as possible” but that there was no obligation to assist adults at the camp.