DanChurchAid’s staff released after two months detention in Turkey

Just now four relief workers from DanChurchAid have been flown out of Turkey, where they have been detained for two months. The four are all Syrian citizens and have been working for DanChurchAid to help their compatriots in war-torn Syria, when they were apprehended by the Turkish authorities.

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After having been detained for over two months the four Syrian relief workers have been put on a plane out of Turkey. Their first stop will be Sudan, since it is possible for Syrian citizens to enter the country without a visa. The four were working for DanChurchAid when they were apprehended and the organisation will attempt to assist them in Sudan.
”We are relieved that they are free and that they have not been deported to Syria, where their lives would have been in imminent danger”, Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen, General Secretary in DanChurchAid says.
The four relief workers were part of DanChurchAid’s effort to help Syrians in need inside Syria – work that, before the intervention by the authorities, was coordinated from Turkey.
They were apprehended March 28th. together with an additional Syrian colleague and five relief workers from other countries. The five last-mentioned were shortly thereafter deported to their native countries.
After one month in detention, one of the Syrian citizens succeeded in being sent to Germany, since he had a visa. From the beginning a Turkish lawyer have worked on their release and subsequent permission to stay in Turkey, but unfortunately, this has not been possible. The four Syrians were released on the condition that they leave Turkey.
”It is a great relief for everybody in our organisation that our colleagues are no longer detained. There still remains a lot of work to help them recover from this ordeal, but this is a big and important step” Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen says.
The official grounds for their detainment is that DanChurchAid did not have permission to operate in Turkey. This despite all the relevant papers were handed over to the Turkish authorities more than a year and a half before they were apprehended.
DanChurchAid will continue their relief work in Syria – coordinated from other countries than Turkey.