Rus­sia ‘repa­tri­ates’ 27 IS chil­dren

Mid Day - - World -

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.

PIC/AFP

A fighter of the Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces (SDF) keeps watch in the vil­lage of Baghuz in Deir Ez­zor.

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