ISS: No information on returnees from Syria to Estonia

ISS yearbook (picture is illustrative).
ISS yearbook (picture is illustrative). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

According to the Internal Security Service (ISS) no individuals currently in Syria who have connections with Estonia plan to return to the country at present.

"At the present moment there is no information about anyone having expressed the wish to return or come to Estonia," the ISS told BNS on Wednesday.

"The relevant Estonian authorities would have to resolve any issues based on the circumstances related to the specific individuals," ISS spokespeople added.

"The ISS noted in its latest annual review that since 2013, they have identified a couple of dozen individuals connected with Estonia, including minors, who are staying or have stayed within the Syria-Iraq conflict region and who have links to extremist groups there," the ISS continued.

The government of Finland recently made a decision to repatriate children of Islamist extremists staying at the al-Hol detention camp for women and children of ISIS, in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria, to Finland, as quickly as possible, whereas decisions concerning the possible repatriation of their mothers will be made on a case-by-case basis, while prioritizing the best interests of the child, BNS reports.

According to the UN, there were approximately 70,000 people detained in al-Hol in November, including over 30,000 Iraqi citizens, 28,000 Syrians and 10,000 citizens of other countries. 

Kurdish troops in charge of the camp have reportedly demonstrated a reluctance to separate mothers from their children, and the mothers a similar reluctance to remain behind while their children return to Finland.

Estonian MEP Yana Toom (Centre) recently sent a question to European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, regarding activity planned by the commission for enabling children whose EU citizen-holding parents have at some point gone to Iraq or Syria, to return to their home countries.

Toom believes that children of European citizens in Syria and Iraq should be returned to their home countries.

"The safe return of children to their homeland must be a priority for all EU countries," Toom said.

An Estonian-born man who left the country in 2013 to fight for radical Islamic forces in the Syrian civil war almost certainly died there several years ago, the ISS said in April.

Abdurrahman Sazanakov, who was born and raised in the Lasnamäe district of Tallinn, took the second name Azan after his induction into radical Islam and joined Islamic extremists in Syria in 2013, it is reported.

Sazanakov, who travelled to Syria with his wide Lolita and two children, who are Estonian citizens, is thought to have died at some point since going there, with his grave likely located in the vicinity of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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