10 May, 2019

Statement by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

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Following my instruction, on 7 and 9 May 2019, 231 citizens of Kazakhstan were evacuated from Syria. This included 156 children, mostly of pre-school age, 18 of whom are orphans.

This large-scale humanitarian action was a continuation of the Zhusan operation. It was launched successfully at the instruction of the First President and Leader of the Nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in January of this year.

Rehabilitation assistance has been provided for all citizens upon their arrival, both by state bodies and non-governmental organisations. This has included medical, psychological and social assistance.

Following this successful operation, we can now divulge the positive impact of this work. The women who returned in January of this year have abandoned their radical past and have now taken up employment and re-established ties with relatives. The children have been attending schools and kindergartens.

The citizens of Kazakhstan who went to the battle zones decided to take such a rash step under the influence of the destructive and false propaganda of terrorists. Now they are returning to Kazakhstan voluntarily, in the hope of starting a new life. Their children should not be made to suffer in a foreign land nor be held responsible for the mistakes of their parents.

Kazakhstan reaffirms its commitment to countering terrorism, and to provide comprehensive assistance to citizens who are in a difficult situation. The humanitarian action will continue. We are not indifferent to the fate of our people.

I wish to express my gratitude to the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Security Committee and other government agencies, as well as to our foreign partners who took part in this humanitarian operation.

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