US repatriates 11 Americans, 6 Canadians from northeast Syria 

International Blinken 042224 AP Susan Walsh

The U.S. repatriated 11 Americans, six Canadians, four Dutch citizens and one Finnish citizen from northeast Syria Tuesday, according to a statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“In conducting this complex repatriation and resettlement the Department coordinated closely with our interagency partners,” Blinken said in the Tuesday statement. “I would like to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Health and Human Services for their assistance.”

Blinken also called Tuesday’s repatriation “largest single repatriation of U.S. citizens from northeast Syria to date” in the statement.

“The United States remains committed to helping those nations which seek to repatriate their nationals from northeast Syria, and to finding solutions, including resettlement, for those who are unable to return to their communities or countries of origin,” Blinken said.

Back in February, a top military commander for U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in Syria warned that rising conflict in the Middle East as well as attacks from Iranian-supported groups in Iraq and Syria are allowing space for the Islamic State to come back. 

“With all these tensions and all these attacks on our forces and in our areas from different and multiple sides, we’re seeing that ISIS is taking the benefit from all these attacks. We have also seen a spike in movements from ISIS,” Mazloum Abdi, the general commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said in a briefing over Zoom to journalists. 

Tensions in the Middle East have heated up amid the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, through actions such as Iranian-backed proxies attacking U.S. forces in the region.

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