Thirty Russian children whose mothers have been jailed in Iraq for belonging to ISIS arrived Sunday in Moscow on a flight from Baghdad.
The fathers of the children, aged three to 10 years old, were reportedly killed in combat during Iraq’s three-year war against the militant group, a Russian diplomatic source told AFP before their plane took off.
“The plane of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has landed,” Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on his Telegram account.
Kadyrov said their arrival was “undeniable proof of the rigorous fulfilment of the mission set out by Russian President Vladimir Putin to save the women and children in Syria and Iraq.”
He added, “If we do not bring them home, they will become the target of the special services of other countries.”
The children were taken to hospital on arrival for “thorough examinations,” the press service of Russia’s Health Ministry said.
Kadyrov posted a video clip on the popular Russian network VKontakte of the children’s departure from Baghdad, adding that 24 of them were from Dagestan, and another three were from Chechnya.
Several thousand Russians travelled to join the jihadists in their once vast “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq, according to estimates from the Russian security services. Some took their families with them.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse