Iraqi Kurdistan is vetting the incoming Syrian refugees due to high risk of criminal elements including terrorists to try to flee the Middle Eastern country, Kurdistan Regional Government's Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman told SputnikWASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd November, 2019) Iraqi Kurdistan is vetting the incoming Syrian refugees due to high risk of criminal elements including terrorists to try to flee the middle Eastern country, Kurdistan Regional Government's Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman told Sputnik.
"With any wave of refugees - the refugees are always fleeing a conflict, whichever part of the world - and quite often there're fleeing criminal elements or in a case of some people there were fleeing ISIS [IS] terrorists," she said. "In Syria there are ISIS terrorists, there's al-Qaeda, there're all these other militias that are just as bad as ISIS. So, we are very careful about the refugees that are coming over, to vet them, and to see who is among them."
"We have to do that because we have to protect the other refugees who came before them. And we have to protect the refugees who are coming -they're fleeing conflict," Rahman continued. "And of course, we owe it to our own community, our own population, to make sure that we protect them. And that's a very big risk."
Asked who carries out the vetting process, Rahman noted, "I'm not an expert on this. My understanding is that it's both our authorities, but also the UN, because they also have a lot of experience."
Earlier, Rahman shared with Sputnik that over the past month Iraqi Kurdistan has accepted 16,700 Syrian refugees due to the Turkish military operation in the north. She also noted that the refugees, although in smaller numbers, continue to come every day.
On October 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria to clear the area of Kurdish militia and Islamic State terrorists. The United States and Turkey came to an agreement on October 17 for a 120-hour ceasefire in the area to allow the withdrawal of the Kurdish fighters.
As the five-day ceasefire came to an end, Turkey and Russia reached a deal that would see the Kurdish fighters pull back from the Syrian border area with Turkey. In addition, Moscow and Ankara have begun joint patrols in the operation zone along the Turkish border.