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Northeast Syrian official heads to Helsinki for talks with Haavisto

The Kurdish-dominated administration's foreign relations chief will discuss conditions at the Al-hol detention camp.

Ulkoministeri Pekka Haavisto
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in Parliament on 17 January. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

A representative of northeast Syria's unofficial Kurdish-dominated administration will visit Helsinki next week for talks with officials including Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

Abdulkarim Omar, informally known as the "foreign minister" of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), will visit Finland on Wednesday and Thursday.

Omar's official title is Co-chair of the Foreign Relations Commission in North Syria. The NES has governed the de facto autonomous region since 2012.

According to the ministry statement, talks between Haavisto and Omar will focus on the Syria reconciliation process and efforts to combat Isis.

At the senior official level, Omar will discuss conditions at the al-Hol detention camp in the Kurdish-controlled region, where dozens of Finnish citizens are being held.

Article continues after photo

Abdulkarim Omar
Abdulkarim Omar Image: Antti Kuronen / Yle

Finns could face trial in Syria

Omar earlier told an Yle reporter in northeastern Syria that his administration plans to begin filing charges against foreign prisoners without an international court.

He said that the administration would begin discussing these charges with countries whose citizens are still in northeastern Syria, including Finland.

There are some 40 Finns at the Al-Hol camp, including about 30 children. Two orphans were evacuated to Finland in December. Children have also been returned to Austria, Britain and Norway.

The Kurds are keeping suspected foreign Isis combatants in prisons in secret locations. Yle has received reports of at least two Finnish men in these prisons, but has been unable to verify them.

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