Support The Moscow Times!

Dozens of Russian Women Vanish After Fleeing Syrian Camp – Reports

Maya Alleruzzo / AP / TASS

An estimated 50 Russian women have disappeared after fleeing from a prison camp for the wives and children of Islamic State fighters in northern Syria, BBC Russia has reported.

Russian women held in the Ain Issa camp had sought Moscow’s help earlier this month amid Turkey’s mounting offensive to clear the region of Kurdish rebels. Chechen human rights activist Kheda Saratova said she sent their appeals to Russia’s human rights chief, Foreign Ministry and Federal Security Service (FSB).

The relatives of the women and children said they vanished sometime around Oct. 17 en route to the Turkish border, BBC Russia reported Friday.

Authorities in Russia’s republic of Chechnya are working to find and return the women and their children, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s spokesman told the RBC news website Sunday.

“Any Russian-speaking woman is a valuable asset for terrorists, especially if she turns out to be a capable recruiter,” Russia’s human rights chief Tatyana Moskalkova was quoted as saying.

Relatives have identified at least 1,779 Russian women and children in Syria and Iraq who want to return from former Islamic State territory, Saratova said earlier this year. She had previously said that 21 women and 105 children had returned to Russia over a two-year period.

Unnamed sources close to Turkey’s interior ministry told BBC Russia that pro-Turkish forces that hold foreigners plan to notify their countries of origin to begin negotiations on their fate.

Turkey launched a cross-border operation against the Kurdish YPG militia in northeastern Syria earlier this month after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to withdraw forces from the area in a move that drew strong international criticism.

The Turkish assault has prompted alarms that it could allow Islamic State militants to escape Kurdish-run prisons in northern Syria and regroup. Ankara has dismissed those concerns.

Islamic State is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more