UK to repatriate first citizens from north-eastern Syria

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UK to repatriate first citizens from north-eastern Syria

he UK government is to repatriate the first British citizens from the area of north-eastern Syria formerly under the control of the Islamic State (IS) group, the BBC has learned.

For security reasons, the BBC cannot provide further details of the repatriation.

The individuals being brought out of the region will be returned to the UK in the coming days.

The UK has been reluctant to take back citizens from the area.

IS once controlled 88,000 sq km (34,000 sq miles) of territory stretching from western Syria to eastern Iraq.

The fate of foreign IS fighters and other foreigners caught up in the conflict has been a key issue since the defeat of the extremist group was declared in March 2019.

The United Nations has said countries should take responsibility for their own citizens unless they are to be prosecuted in Syria in accordance with international standards.

Human Rights Watch has described government-facilitated repatriations of foreign nationals as “piecemeal.”

It says more than 1,200 foreign nationals have been repatriated from both Syria and Iraq to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Kosovo, and Turkey.

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