Press release on a meeting of the Foreign Ministry’s working group on returning Russian children from active combat zones in Syria and Iraq
On December 12, Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Anna Kuznetsova co-chaired a meeting of the ad hoc working group at the Foreign Ministry. Representatives from the Foreign Ministry’s Middle East and North Africa Department, Consular Department and Information and Press Department also took part in the meeting.
The participants reviewed the outcome of the humanitarian mission to repatriate all 122 Russian children who were found to be imprisoned or kept in orphanages in Iraq. They were all taken to that country illegally, with their mothers, who are now either under investigation or who have completed court proceedings on accusations of involvement with terrorist organisations.
They focused on further steps to repatriate minor Russian nationals from Syria.
The working group was on its third visit to the Syrian Arab Republic between December 3 and 6. The trip included a visit to Al-Hawl camp for IDPs in the country’s northeast. They contacted the Syrian authorities and representatives of the Kurdish armed groups that currently control this camp.
Eight minor Russian nationals have been repatriated so far to the Russian Federation from a prison in Damascus. DNA samples were collected from another 100 minors to establish whether they are related to their potential guardians in Russia. This is an ongoing effort, which includes establishing the number of Russian children currently staying to the east of the Euphrates River in Syria.