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NUR-SULTAN, May 13, 2019 - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a press conference on the outcome of the Zhusan-2 operation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev and Head of the Department of the National Security Committee Bakytbek Rakhimberdiyev.
Mr. Ashikbayev noted that under the decision of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev, and in accordance with the authorization of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, 231 Kazakh citizens were evacuated from Syrian conflict zones on May 7-9, including 16 men, 59 women and 156 children.
It was stressed that these humanitarian operations were aimed at saving the country's citizens, who had been led to the crisis-hit country under false pretenses and caught up in armed conflict. The officials noted the importance of providing innocent children with an opportunity to live and develop in peace and security, and to be full-fledged citizens of Kazakhstan.
As for the participants of terrorist activity and illegal fighting, the Deputy Foreign Minister said that they would face criminal liability, to the extent that their criminal involvement is proven under Kazakh legislation.
It was noted that the mature and balanced position of Kazakhstan in fulfilling its international commitments relating to UN Security Council resolutions 2178 and 2396 (on foreign terrorist fighters who return to their country of origin) has received positive feedback from the country's partners, who consider Kazakhstan a responsible state protecting their citizens abroad.
The Zhusan-2 humanitarian operation has been carried out with the logistical support of the United States. The Syrian Democratic Forces has also played an important role in this project.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Committee worked in close coordination with concerned central and local public authorities, as well as NGOs. Some of the Kazakh citizens involved had lost their national passports, and most of the children were born on the territory that had been previously under ISIL/Daesh control. The Foreign Ministry and foreign missions of Kazakhstan provided consular, legal and logistical support for the operation.
There will now come a period of adaptation and re-socialization of the returning women and children, with a focus on issues of de-radicalization and rehabilitation.
There are more than 200 Kazakh citizens in the Syrian territory, most of whom are children of pre-school age. The Zhusan operation will be continued.