Russia ‘repatriates’ 27 IS children
monitor. The SDF launched an offensive to expel IS from the eastern province of Deir Ezzor in September. The Kurdish-led alliance has since whittled down jihadist-held territory to a patch of just four square kilometres (one square mile) on the eastern banks of the Euphrates. Up to 600 jihadists could still remain inside, most of them foreigners, according to SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali. Since fighting intensified in December, more than 37,000 people, mostly wives and children of jihadist fighters, have fled out into SDF-held desert areas, the Observatory says. That figure includes some 3,200 suspected jihadists detained by the SDF, according to the monitor, which relies on sources inside Syria for its information. A Russian official said Sunday that Moscow had repatriated a fresh batch of children whose mothers are being held in Iraq for belonging to the Islamic State group. “Twenty-seven Russian children have been repatriated from Baghdad”, a Russian foreign ministry official said. Thirty other children were sent back to Moscow in late December. The fathers of the children were killed during three years of fighting between the jihadists and
Iraqi troops, the official said.
A fighter of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) keeps watch in the village of Baghuz in Deir Ezzor.