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Chechnya confirms over 30 women, children return from Iraq

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said that Baghdad has handed over to Moscow four women and 27 children who had been lured into the Islamic State terror group

MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. Russian Senator Ziyad Sabsabi, representing Chechnya, has confirmed to TASS that the Iraqi authorities handed over to Russia more than 30 people tricked into going abroad. He added that they had left Russia in the period of time from August 1, 2017, to February 21, 2018.

Earlier on Thursday, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said that Baghdad had handed over to Moscow four women and 27 children who had been lured into the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia). According to the Foreign Ministry, it has been established that these people did not participate in the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks on civilians and security forces.

"They have handed over to us 27 children and four women - citizens of Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan," Sabsabi said.

He added that the women had arrived in Chechnya’s capital of Grozny on a direct flight from the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. "It became possible after an agreement had been reached and all the checking processes had been completed, proving that the four women were not involved in the Islamic State international terrorist group," the Russian senator said.

He noted that activities aimed at returning Russian nationals back home were carried out in cooperation with the Russian and Iraqi foreign ministries.

Sabsabi also said that more than 100 women and children from Russia still remained in Iraq. "We expect and hope that in the near future they [Iraq’s authorities - TASS] will hand over to us 65 children and 36 women, who are kept in Baghdad’s Central Prison for Women. In the first half of March we will bring back a group of children. There will be ten to 15 of them, we don’t know for sure yet," he added.

Russians return from Middle East

According to earlier reports, the Islamic State’s defeat in December 2017 found hundreds of foreign militants’ family members, mostly women and children, in Iraq. Around 100 women and children who come from Chechnya, Dagestan, the Khanty-Mansiysk Region, Tver Region and other Russian regions, as well as from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, were evacuated to Russia in the past several months. This matter is handled by a working groups led by Sabsabi.