NUR-SULTAN – Two-hundred and thirty-one Kazakh citizens, including 156 children, were evacuated from Syria May 7 and May 9, according to a special announcement by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
The evacuations were part of a large-scale humanitarian effort, called Operation Jusan, that began in January under former President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The most recent evacuees included 18 orphans and Kazakhstan has given priority in its evacuation efforts to women and children, primarily those in need of medical care. All of the returned citizens will be provided medical, psychological and social assistance from the government and Kazakh nongovernmental organisations.
Kazakhstan is the only country to have carried out large-scale evacuations of its citizens from Syria where tens of thousands of citizens from more than 50 countries are believed to remain in refugee camps, said Yerlan Karin, an advisor to President Tokayev.
Many of those returned this year are believed to have been influenced by terrorist groups to go to Syria to fight in that country’s conflict. According to the Kazakh President, the citizens returned to Kazakhstan earlier this year have denounced radical views, have found employment and have re-established ties with their relatives in Kazakhstan. The children have also begun attending schools and kindergartens, he said.
In his announcement, President Tokayev said Kazakhstan would continue its evacuation efforts from Syria. He also reaffirmed Kazakhstan’s commitment to fighting terrorism and assisting Kazakh citizens abroad.
President Tokayev thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Security Committee and other government agencies as well as Kazakhstan’s foreign partners who took part in the evacuation.