Sanjin Sabovic, the Bosnian national and employee of a German security agency, visited the Al Roj refugee camp in Syria, where he spoke to the families of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who participated in battles in foreign war zones. Some of those willing to return want a guarantee that they will not be processed for joining ISIS, he said.
Speaking to N1, Sabovic said he arrived at the Al Roj camp on August 12, 2020, as a security guard to a UN official. The team was supposed to visit the Al Hoj camp on the next day but it was cancelled due to airstrikes near Al Hasakah town.
“The primary purpose of my visit to the Al Roj camp was the escort to the UN official, but due to poor knowledge of Bosnian language by Turkish interpreters and poor knowledge of English by Bosnian nationals, I was asked to take that role, which I gladly accepted,” Sabovic said.
The UN officials were supposed to talk to as many people from Europe as possible. Besides Bosnians, they also talked to the nationals of Serbia, Kosovo, Austria and France, according to him.
Those interviewed were the ones whose family members – husbands, sons, etc. - were ISIS fighters or members of other terrorist groups directly linked to ISIS, explained Sabovic.
“The UN representatives wanted to know if these persons witnessed war crimes or if they indirectly learned from others about war crimes committed in certain areas, but also how they reached Syria and if they participated public life of so-called Islamic State through their authorities such as Shairah police, etc., and how they plan to get back to and organise their lives in case of return to their home countries,” he added.
According to him, the interviewed persons openly said that Bosnia and Herzegovina shows no wish or interest in bringing its nationals back.
The problem lies in financial support since the return should now be funded by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, not by the UN as in previous years.
“I can confirm that one adult asked for the UN's financial support in the amount of 5,000 US dollars for the return as well as guarantee that Bosnia and Herzegovina's authorities will not process them for joining of ISIS,” said Sabovic.
Among the interviewed persons were three adult women and two teenagers, a boy and a girl.
Speaking of the conditions in the camp, Sabovic said it was more than good and that both camps were run by the UN. A US agency is in charge of safety in the camps.