Stand-off over children continues in Syria

10th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 July 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch embassy in Damascus is preparing for a long stay by two children caught up in a tug-of-love saga between their estranged parents.

10 July 2006

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch embassy in Damascus is preparing for a long stay by two children caught up in a tug-of-love saga between their estranged parents.

Ammar, 12, and Sara, 10, escaped from their Syrian father, Hisham al-Hafez, two weeks ago and took a taxi to the Dutch embassy.

Ambassador Roderick van Schreven told newspaper 'De Telegraaf' that negotiations about the children's future had been hampered by the father's instance that embassy staff kidnapped them.

"The children walked in of their own free will and have only one wish: to return to the Netherlands," Van Schreven said. He confirmed the children have made statements alleging their father hit them. Their Dutch mother is in the Netherlands.

Van Schreven told the newspaper that there were never plans to smuggle the children out of the embassy. "This must be resolved by official channels. I am almost continuously in negotiations with the Syrian authorities and the father, but there is no opening in sight."

Extra staff and other provisions, including an inflatable pool, have being brought into the embassy to make the children's stay as comfortable as possible.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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