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Over 200 Kazakhs Linked To Islamic State Repatriated From Syria

Kazakh interim President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev
Kazakh interim President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev

Kazakhstan’s interim president says 231 Kazakh citizens have been repatriated during the past week from Syria, where they were believed to have joined the Islamic State (IS) extremist group or were children of IS fighters.

Interim President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev said on May 10 that the repatriated Kazakhs included 156 children, mainly boys and girls under age of six, including 18 orphans.

Toqaev said they were brought from Syria between May 7 and May 9 by Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry, Kazakhstan's Committee for National Security, and "foreign partners."

"State bodies and nongovernmental organizations have implemented rehabilitation measures to assist the arrived citizens," Toqaev said. "They received medical, psychological, and social assistance."

In January, authorities in Kazakhstan said that 47 Kazakh citizens were repatriated from Syria.

Kazakh officials have said that hundreds of citizens of the Central Asian country went to Iraq and Syria to join IS fighters in recent years. Many, they say, were killed fighting as IS militants.

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