Possible Swedish deaths in Syria

ISIL bride women children syriaWomen and children stand in line at a reception area for people evacuated from the last shred of territory held by Islamic State militants, outside Baghouz, Syria. (AP Photo/Gabriel Chaim)

Swedish children may have died in Syria

The news that four Swedish children may have died in camps in Syria, shows that it is urgent to bring Norwegian children, and their mothers, home from the camps, according to the Norwegian Red Cross.

Tuesday’s news about the Swedish children is outrageous, Nora Ingdal of Save the Children asserts.

“This only shows that it is urgent to get the Norwegian children home, together with their mothers, before it is too late. The important issue is now the children who are left in al-Hol, where there are life-threatening conditions. In the camp, which houses more than 70,000 persons, the heat has been murderous in recent weeks. The temperatures have reached around 40 degrees oC, with diseases spreading rapidly. There is a lack of food, water and health care. It is especially dangerous for the youngest children,” Ingdal writes in an email to NTB.

She adds that the organization has warned, for several months, that children of IS parents are in danger of dying as a result of the political tug of war between the Norwegian government parties.

Won’t speculate

State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marianne Hagen (Conservatives), refers to the five children who were brought home in early June. She, among other things, states the following:

“We have said that we would prioritize the orphans who are the most vulnerable. The retrieval of five children was a demanding operation, which it was necessary not to become public knowledge. If it had been known, that would have put the children at greater risk. In turn, increase the risk that we would not be able to bring them safely to Norway. We will, therefore, not speculate about any other future operations.”

Hagen informs that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has close contact with other Nordic and European countries, which have citizens in Syria. Nordic co-operation has also been established in the consular area.

“There has been ongoing cooperation for a long time in this matter. We have contacts at both political and civil level,” she reveals.

Hagen adds that the Ministry is not aware that Norwegian citizens have lost their lives in the refugee camps of Syria.

Ropstad believes in a solution

Minister for Children and Family, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad (Christian Democrats), said last week that he has faith in a solution for the remaining children in Syria.

What will happen to the children of Norwegian IS fighters in Syria, and their mothers, is one of the biggest ongoing disputes in the government. While the Christian Democrats (KrF) requires that both the children and mothers should be returned to Norway, the Progress Party are adamant that IS mothers cannot do so; If the children are to come home, the parents must give up their custody.

“We have shown that we can find good solutions to bring the orphans home, I believe that we will also find a solution for the remainder,” Ropstad told NTB regarding the intra-government discussions.

“We are committed to finding a solution for the kids as quickly as possible,” Ropstad emphasized.



Between 30 and 40 children

The Security Service of the Police (PST) estimated that there are about 40 Norwegian children in Syria earlier this year. Apart from the five children who came to Norway in early June, PST has not changed that estimate.

“Det er ingen flere som har kommet til Norge, så etter at de fem kom hjem, er tallet mellom 30 og 40,” sier seniorrådgiver i PST, Martin Bernsen, tells NTB.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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