Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto during the appointment of the new government on December 10, 2019. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

According to information received by Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, the repatriation of children from Al Hol camp in northeast Syria—where about 30 Finnish children remain after the collapse of the Islamic State—has begun.

The first children to be repatriated are under seven-year-old orphans and according to the paper, their mother, a native Finn, has apparently died in the bombings.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (the Green League) commented the situation on evening news program Kymmenen uutiset on Wednesday:

“It’s probably the best possible Christmas present, when the children come home, if this [operation] succeeds,” Haavisto said while referring to the children’s grandparents and other family members who have been waiting worried.

According to Haavisto, the two orphans are still being held by the Kurdish authorities in Syria.