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Sudan: How operation "Kosmos" to save the Greeks was set up

Featured Sudan: How operation "Kosmos" to save the Greeks was set up

Foreign citizens are fleeing Sudan as clashes between the army forces led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary organization RSF of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, aka Hemeti, have continued since April 15.

Among the countries that organized a special operation to free its citizens was Greece after the Greeks asked for the help of the Greek government since the outbreak of the conflict that embroiled the North African country.

Operation "Kosmos"

At noon on Sunday 23 April the secret plan "Kosmos" was activated with the take-off of two Greek transport aircraft, a C-130 and a C-27 from Elefsina, bound for Southern Egypt.

Yesterday, preparation had taken place, with those involved passing through the 401 Military Hospital and also the "Geographic Medicine" department.

The Air Force aircraft transported diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, specialized medical personnel and also the special operations department of the Armed Forces General Staff. Two commando detachments went along , in a close support role for the security of the aircraft. Medical personnel also went to Sudan as the rescued were receiving treatment.

As it became known a few hours later, the two transport aircraft landed at an airport in southern Egypt.

The announcement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

An announcement about the operation was issued by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It states that: "In the context of the continuous monitoring of the situation in Sudan and coordination of actions for the release of Greeks from this country, two meetings of the Crisis Management Unit were held today, under the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, with the participation of the service leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ambassador of Greece in Cairo and the Armed Forces General Staff. The first took place in the morning and a second meeting followed later.

Following the constant communications of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the safe release of Greek citizens from Sudan, the first group of Greek citizens, including the two injured, left Sudan, with the help of France, and boarded a flight for Djibouti. The Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was informed.

The Ambassador of Greece in Ethiopia and the Honorary Consul of Greece to Djibouti are already there to welcome the specific Greek citizens and provide any assistance.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed his thanks to his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, as well as to the French Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Katerina Zacharopoulou, for France's substantial assistance in the safe removal of the Greeks from Sudan.

The process and coordination with EU partners and allies for the release of the remaining Greeks and their family members is ongoing."

Embassy evacuations, businesses from many countries

There are many countries that have organized operations to release citizens from Sudan. According to Reuters, civilians were also injured in the operations.

US President Joe Biden announced on Saturday night that diplomatic staff had been removed from the US embassy in Khartoum, adding that Washington had temporarily suspended the operation of its embassy there. At the same time, he called for an end to the "absurd" conflicts.

“This tragic violence in Sudan has already claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians. It is absurd and it must stop," he emphasized.

According to American media, military aircraft and helicopters were used to evacuate the Americans. The exact number of Americans evacuated is not known, although it is at least 70 people, according to a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity. At present there are no plans to remove other American citizens who are in Sudan and are estimated to number in the hundreds.

Operation "Sagittarius" from France

France implemented Operation "Sagittarius" to remove its diplomatic staff, French citizens as well as Europeans from "allied countries", including Greek residents of Sudan. Foreign and Defense Ministry sources commented that this operation is "extremely complex" as it is being conducted in a war zone where, moreover, "the networks are no longer working", while it is necessary

as well as the exact geolocation of the citizens who will be removed.

The first plane that left Khartoum and already arrived in Djibouti had a few Dutch people on board, while another group of Dutch citizens left the Sudanese capital by road in a UN convoy, Foreign Minister Wokpe Hoekstra said.

All Italians safe

Italy on Sunday removed all its nationals who had asked to leave Sudan, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced, calling for "an end to the war and the start of negotiations".

Earlier yesterday, her government's foreign minister, Antonio Tajani, referred to the evacuation by the Italian army of "around 200 people, including Swiss citizens and members of the apostolic nunciature (the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Sudan).

Via Twitter, Mr Tajani clarified that the people who were evacuated were "on a flight to Djibouti".

101 civilians were released by the German armed forces

The German armed forces also announced yesterday the evacuation by military aircraft of 101 people from Sudan.

"The first Airbus A400M is in flight from Jordan with the 101 deportees," the Bundeswehr said via Twitter, clarifying that two more such aircraft will be sent to Sudan to participate in the hasty evacuation of Germans.


More than 300 German nationals are on the Foreign Ministry's list of persons to be removed. Nationals of Germany's partner countries are also sought to be transferred if possible.

The mission, involving more than 1,000 members of the German armed forces, took days to prepare. The first flight was supposed to take place on Wednesday, but had to be canceled due to the conditions in Sudan.

British citizens evacuated safely

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced yesterday that the armed forces of his country removed from Sudan the members of the British diplomatic staff and their families.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace clarified that the UK carried out this operation "alongside the US, France and other allies". It involved "more than 1,200 members" of the British armed forces.

Ireland, for its part, said it had begun the "evacuation process" to remove its citizens.

Sweden has sent around 150 troops to help evacuate its diplomats and citizens, while Norway is also withdrawing its diplomatic staff from the country.

Operations by Egypt and the Gulf countries

Egypt has begun the transfer of its citizens from Port Sudan and Wadi Halfa, in northern Sudan. Earlier, it urged Egyptians in Khartoum to stay in the safety of their homes until the situation improves. Cairo stressed the need to carefully organize a safe operation for the 10,000 Egyptians living in Sudan to return home.

According to Egyptian authorities, an Egyptian diplomat was wounded by gunfire, but no further details about his condition are known.

As of Saturday, Saudi Arabia has received 91 Saudis and about 60 citizens from 12 other countries. Kuwait said all its citizens who wanted to leave Sudan had already arrived in Jeddah, while Qatar thanked Riyadh for its help.

In a statement, the Sudanese military accused the RSF of attacking and looting the convoy of Qatari diplomats heading to Port Sudan, but Qatar has not commented on the report. It is not clear if it was the same group of diplomats that left for Saudi Arabia.

Iraq announced that 14 of its citizens had been taken "to a safe location in Port Sudan" and efforts were continuing to evacuate the rest from Khartoum. The diplomatic staff had already left on Saturday.

Jordan has begun evacuating around 300 of its citizens, while Lebanon has announced that 60 of its citizens have left by road and are "safe".

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The Tunisian embassy in Khartoum announced that the operation to repatriate the Tunisians will begin today, Monday.

Libya has announced that 83 of its citizens, including diplomats, their family members, students and bank employees, have arrived in Port Sudan and will be repatriated from there.

Operations by Turkey, Russia

Turkey has announced that it will repatriate its citizens in war zones by land "via a third country". The removal of about 600 Turks began on Sunday from two districts of Khartoum and from Wad Madanim, a town 200 kilometers south of the Sudanese capital. The evacuation of the Kafouri neighborhood in northern Khartoum has been postponed "until further notice" due to an explosion near the gathering point of Turks, as announced by the Turkish embassy.

Russia's ambassador in Khartoum told Russian media that 140 of the roughly 300 Russian residents of Sudan expressed a desire to leave. It is currently impossible to implement the evacuation plan because "it involves crossing the border," he explained.

Other countries, such as South Korea and Japan, are also preparing to evacuate their citizens by deploying forces in neighboring countries. Indonesia is "taking all necessary measures" to safely evacuate Indonesians from Sudan, while India is "working closely with its partners" for the same, the two countries' foreign ministries said.

India has sent a warship to Port Sudan and two military aircraft to Jeddah in preparation, while urging its citizens to avoid "unnecessary risks".

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Over 420 dead in Sudan

According to the figures of the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 420 people have lost their lives and more than 3,700 others have been injured in the hostilities.

Tens of thousands of civilians have also been displaced, making their way to other Sudanese states or to neighboring Chad and Egypt.