Russia brings back kids raised by IS - but the mothers stay behind
Children aren’t to blame for the immature choices of their mothers and even their fathers, says one organiser
Six-year-old Sumaya and her teenage sister Zagidat used to mark every day they spent away from their mother on a calendar, hoping for a reunion. “Six months later, they tore it up, and we spoke no more about it,” says their grandmother, Patimat Gazimagomedova.
Suymaya and Zagidat, 13, have been living with Gazimagomedova in Russia’s predominantly Muslim region of Dagestan since their return from Islamic State-run Iraq in February 2019. Their mother is in an Iraqi prison. They are two of hundreds of children that Russia is bringing back from squalid prisons and camps in the former caliphate, in what could be the world’s largest repatriation effort.
While the UK is torn over the future of about 60 British children in a similar situation, Russia is already in the middle of its operation. At least 3,000 Russians went to fight alongside Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants in Syria, and a third of them came from Dagestan, a region of three million...