There are around 350 Russian children in conflict zones in the Middle East including Syria, Russia’s children’s rights ombudswoman Anna Kuznetsova was cited as saying on Tuesday by the Interfax news agency.
Most of the children are from Russia’s North Caucasus regions of Chechnya and Dagestan, Kuznetsova said.
“Dagestan accounts for more than 200 [children], according to [government] figures,” she was cited as saying.
“The unofficial figure [of children illegally taken out of Russia] is much higher.”
Many of the children were taken to Syria, Interfax reported, citing Kuznetsova’s press service.
The statement comes after RT reported earlier this month that at least 48 Russian children were marooned in Mosul, Iraq, after their parents had been killed fighting for Islamic State.*
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov later said there were more than 300 orphans from Russia and former Soviet Union countries in conflict zones in the Middle East.
*Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia