Fifteen Romanians, family members repatriated from Syria via Turkey

A group of 15 people - Romanian nationals and their family members, Syrian citizens - was repatriated from Syria via Turkey on Wednesday, the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) reports. According to MAE, the repatriation was made with the support from the Romanian embassies in Damascus, Ankara, the Consulate General of Romania in Istanbul and the honorary consul of Romania in Iskenderun. MAE, through the Romanian Embassy in Ankara, took steps with the Turkish authorities to facilitate the group's entry into Turkey and to secure accommodation for the Romanians and their family members. The steps were conducted under the coordination of the MAE's Consular Department and also with the approval of the relevant Romanian officials. The Romanian diplomatic mission in Ankara also issued travel documents for the Romanian citizens and maintained an ongoing dialogue with them. The 15-people group left Syria on Monday by land to Turkey, where they continued their journey to Romania, via the Hatay-Istanbul-Bucharest route. MAE says it has fully borne the costs of the repatriation procedures, namely international and domestic air transport, road transport and accommodation. It also underlines the importance of the support offered by Turkey as part of the procedures that led to the settlement of the case and to the safe repatriation of the Romanian citizens. The repatriation measure is part of constant requests for consular assistance and protection granted by MAE to Romanian citizens in special situations, through diplomatic missions and consular offices in countries with major security risks. MAE mentions that since the beginning of the evacuation operations in Syria in 2011, through the direct intervention of the Romanian Embassy in Damascus and other diplomatic missions, and under the coordination of the MAE task force, 784 Romanian citizens and their family members have been repatriated. Currently, the Embassy of Romania in Damascus is providing consular assistance and protection, including to citizens of Australia, Canada, France, Moldova and Portugal in Syria, as well as to citizens of other counties, based on specific requests. On the MAE website, a travel warning for Syria is still on that contains the maximum level of alert, respectively "Major danger - leave the area or country immediately!." MAE reiterates its firm recommendations to Romanian citizens in conflict zones to leave the area and to contact Romania's diplomatic missions there to announce their presence in the region so that they can benefit from consular assistance and protection, as well as to check the information provided through the safe travel mobile application that can be downloaded to any mobile smartphone. AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Rodica State)

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