30 May 2019 11:45

Uzbekistan takes in 156 citizens from Middle East conflict zone - Foreign Ministry

TASHKENT. May 3o (Interfax) - Uzbekistan took in 156 citizens, mostly women and children, from the Middle East conflict zone on Thursday, the Uzbek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"On the orders from Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, 156 Uzbek citizens, mostly women and children moved to the armed conflict zone in the Middle East by deception, have returned to Tashkent by a special flight," the statement said.

"The humanitarian operation was accomplished in strict compliance with fundamental international documents regarding the observance of human rights. [...] The importance of assistance to women and children who are connected to international terrorist fighters and could be victims of terrorism is reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2396," it said.

The ministry pledged comprehensive assistance of the Uzbek government to rehabilitation and reintegration of the returnees.

"They will have access to healthcare, psychological support, and educational and other social programs, and will be helped return to a peaceful life, including by means of accommodation and employment," the statement said.

"The humanitarian mission, which rescued our citizens, resulted from coordinated efforts of the Foreign Ministry, security services, and other agencies of Uzbekistan," it said.

"A number of foreign states and international organizations, among them the International Committee of the Red Cross and UNICEF, have given us important support," the statement said.

"We deem important to tell compatriots, who have experienced difficult live situations abroad for various reasons, that all of them enjoy protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan and that the government will do its best to ensure the observance of their rights and interests," it said.

It was reported earlier that Kazakhstan brought home 278 citizens from Syria as a result of the two-stage humanitarian operation Zhusan. The first stage of the operation was accomplished on January 6 when 47 Kazakh citizens, including 30 children, 11 women, and six men, were evacuated from Syria. The second stage took place on May 7 and 9, and 231 Kazakh citizens, including 156 children, were evacuated from Syria.

Tajik Foreign Minister Sirodjidin Mukhriddin also expressed the intention of Tajikistan's authorities to bring back citizens, primarily children, from Iraq and Syria.