Turkey's National Intelligence Organization rescued Moldovan national Natalia Barkal and her four children from YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria.
Barkal and her children had been stuck in the al-Hawl camp since the beginning of 2019 due to ongoing clashes in the war-stricken country, security sources said Friday on the condition of anonymity.
They were rescued by the joint operation of Turkish intelligence units and Moldovan security and intelligence service after the Moldovan government sought the help of Turkey to rescue the stranded citizens, according to the sources.
Following the successful operation, Moldovan President Igor Dodon conveyed his gratitude to Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, they added.
Barkal and her Syrian origin husband, who lived and worked in Moldova’s capital Chisinau until 2013, decided to reside in Syria’s Manbij district in Aleppo province.
Security sources said Barkal’s husband was killed in late 2017 during military clashes in Syria and Barkal and her four children arrived at al-Hawl Camp on January 2019.
On Friday, Moldovan president, along with officials from Turkey’s embassy in Chisinau, welcomed Barkal and her children at Chisinau Airport.
"I thank President Erdogan for his extensive efforts to bring back our citizens and for his support," Dodon said.
He later shared photos taken at the airport when the president hosted the family, also reminding that another Moldovan family had been repatriated from Syria last year with Turkey’s help.
Speaking to journalists, Barkal said they went through a very hard time during their captivity.
"At first I thought it would be fine and we would return to our country soon. But then we experienced every kind of human emotion there is," she said.
She also expressed gratitude to Turkey for its help in their rescue.
“I am grateful to the Turkish government. Turkey is a great country,” she said.