The Iraqi government has returned 27 Russian children and four women suspected of terrorist ties to their homeland.
Around 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected Islamic State (IS) fighters have reportedly been held in Iraq since U.S.-backed forces recaptured the city of Mosul last year. Most of them hailed from Turkey, while many others came from Russia and former Soviet republics, the Reuters news agency reported last year.
“Iraq has returned to Russia 27 children and four women who were tricked into joining [IS],” Reuters cited an Iraqi foreign ministry official as saying on Thursday.
Around 65 Russian children and 36 women remain detained in Iraq, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s envoy in the Middle East and North Africa, told Interfax on Thursday.
Baghdad is holding them on suspicion of illegally crossing the Iraqi border or having ties to the Islamic State terrorist group, Kadyrov’s envoy Ziyad Sabsabi said.
Sabsabi told Interfax that the latest repatriations “weren’t a one-time action.”
“In this case, we’re talking about those whom we have already brought to Russia from Aug. 1 up to this day,” Kadyrov’s envoy said.
Islamic State is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.