Albanian boy held in Syrian camp on way home: PM Rama

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-07 23:34:55|Editor: yan
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TIRANA, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- An Albanian boy currently held at a refugee camp in Syria will return home, Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on Thursday.

In a Facebook post, Rama said that the Albanian police in cooperation with their Italian partners had made it possible for the boy, 11-year-old Alvin Berisha, to cross the Syrian border. Berisha had been kept at the Al-Hol refugee camp in northeast Syria, where wives and children of ISIS fighters are kept.

Albania's Minister of Interior Sander Lleshaj is escorting the boy to the Italian Embassy in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, from where he will be provided with the necessary documents to fly to his father who resides in Italy, Rama said.

Rama expressed his deep gratitude to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for his support in following up the operation on the Italian side.

Rama also thanked the two humanitarian organizations that had played a key role in this "extremely complex and dangerous operation."

The Albanian authorities, Rama said, will continue with their work and efforts to repatriate other children and women who are "held hostage in the Syrian prison camp."

Alvin Berisha was taken to Syria when he was six by his mother, Valbona Berisha, who fled to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), leaving the rest of the family in Italy, according to local media reports.

The mother, who remarried in Syria, died in an explosion, and the boy ended up in a prison camp in the Kurdish part of Syria where he was eventually found by his father, Afrim Berisha, and the Italian investigative program "Le Iene."

The State Minister for Relations with Parliament in Albania, Elisa Spiropali, said on Monday that the Albanian government had suspended its efforts to repatriate from Syria dozens of Albanian nationals who are being held on suspicion of having links with ISIS.

According to the minister, the efforts to repatriate the Albanian nationals, which started in August this year, were suspended "due to the new geopolitical situation" in Syria.

Spiropali said that 72 Albanian nationals are held in a camp in northeast Syria, including 11 to 13 men suspected of terrorist activities and 28 children.