4 children and 1 wounded woman return home from Al-Hawl camp

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 29, 2020 17:40

4 children and 1 wounded woman return home from Al-Hawl camp

Finalizing an operation that had been going on for weeks, the Albanian authorities with considerable help from Lebanese counterparts and from the Syrian Red Crescent have managed to repatriate four minors and one woman with debilitating wounds.

Floresha Rasha with her three children, as well as Endri Dumani, a boy who was taken by his father alongside his sister as well are now in Albania receiving medical and psychological care. His sister Eva Dumani did not return. Unconfirmed reports claim she was intimidated, Eva herself has made several phone calls, published by Albanian media, in which she makes an appeal to be returned.  

The operation was conducted from the Albanian Police Anti-terrorism directorate Chief, Gledis Nano and team member Indrit Doda.  Albania’s honorary consul in Beirut, Mark Ghraib, played a major part in the repatriation effort assisting negotiations. Previously Interior Affairs Minister Lleshaj had also been more than once to Lebanon for coordination purposes. Lleshaj claimed that at least 20 other people have been interviewed with the intention of being repatriated too. 

A number of women and children, assumed to be around 50 but hard to be confirmed, remain in the camp. Prime Minister Rama said that the second phase of the operation will aim to bring home the remaining Albanian citizens, with the exception of those who are being investigated for crimes. 

The return of the five from the camp was made into a highly televised event with live coverage from the transportation, the transit stay at the hotel and the arrival in Rinas Airport as well as several news conferences. Critics pointed out that such intensive media coverage and promotion was in service of the electoral campaign and insensitive to the needs and the trauma of the subjects. 

The al-Hawl refugee camp (also al-Hol) is a refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the town of al-Hawl in northern Syria, close to the Syria-Iraq border, which holds individuals displaced from Islamic State group -occupied territory. It is controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

In 2014, several Albanians together with their families departed for Syria to join the ISIS fight. Most of the men were killed and their wives frequently remarried into other fighters. Some of the children were taken without the consent of the other parents and family members that stayed back in Albania.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times October 29, 2020 17:40