Russian authorities attempt to bring home children stranded in Iraq and Syria
Children near a destroyed home. Deraa, Syria, 27 July 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Alaa al-Faqir
Russian authorities are attempting to bring home children brought out of the North Caucasus to Iraq and Syria whose parents had joined terrorist groups.
It has been impossible to send them to Russia because they don’t have documents confirming their Russian citizenship. Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the authorities of Chechnya and politicians from Jordan and Iraq have been participating in discussions to this end – writes the Russian information agency, the Caucasian Knot.
Recent estimates put the number of children taken to Iraq and Syria between 200 and 1000.
The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, recently made a statement concerning the return home of a boy who was taken to Syria by his father; he was found amidst the ruins of a building in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
According to information from Chechen authorities, there are several Chechen children in a Baghdad orphanage. They know their names but DNA expertise is needed in order to establish their identities and find their relatives in Russia.
The representative of the diaspora emphasized that he and his colleagues count on returning all of the Caucasian children, but the Iraqi government has told them that they can return only children of Chechen and Ingush origin.
According to information from this representative, the return home of children of different nationalities must be taken care of by other national organizations. “That is the position of the Iraqi side,” he said.
Head of the Red Crescent in Iraq, Abbas Yasin, says that the children are being dealt with in a humanitarian fashion in Baghdad and the authorities of Iraq are ready to work with the relatives of the children through the Red Crescent in Jordan.
The ombudswoman for childrens’ rights and the protection of the family and motherhood of Dagestan, Marina Yezhova, says that in Mosul, Syria, around 10 Dagestani children were found who had been brought by their parents to the country from Russia.
According to her, the Dagestani authorities are, in cooperation with security forces, diplomatic missions and volunteers located in the zone of the Syrian conflict, ‘conducting continuous work to identify such children’.