Syria’s Kurds hand three Russian orphans to Moscow

Members of the Kurdish administration in northeast Syria escort three Russian orphans as they are delivered to a Russian delegation on March 25, 2019 in the northern Syrian Kurdish town of Qamishli. (AFP)
Updated 26 March 2019

Syria’s Kurds hand three Russian orphans to Moscow

  • Three Russian orphans were handed to a delegation from Moscow who will transfer them back home

QAMISHLI: The Kurdish administration in northeast Syria said Monday it handed over three Russian orphans to a delegation from Moscow who will transfer them back home.
Kurdish foreign affairs official Abdel Karim Omar said the children, aged five to seven, are being sent back at the request of Russia.
He told AFP their parents had been affiliated with the Daesh group, although it was not immediately clear how or when they arrived in Syria.
A member of the Russian government delegation said the siblings are from the country's North Caucasus region. The majority-Muslim southern territory is home to most of the Russians that joined Daesh.
Nelly Kouskova said the children were orphaned nearly one year ago, without providing details.
Their aunt back in Russia had asked authorities to help bring them home, Kouskova told a press conference.
Since the death of their parents the children have been living in the Al-Hol camp, a Kurdish-run shelter designed to accomodate 20,000 people.
But due to the mass exodus of people fleeing the battle to oust Daesh from its final strip of territory -- over which Kurdish-led forces claimed victory on Saturday -- the numbers have swelled to 70,000.
More than 9,000 foreigners, including over 6,500 children, are being held in the overcrowded camp, the Kurdish administration said on Monday.
Syria's Kurds have repeatedly called for the repatriation of foreign Daesh suspects and their relatives.
But the home countries of suspected Daesh members are reluctant to take them back, due to potential security risks and the likely public backlash.
Russia, however, can be seen as a pioneer in systematically returning children of suspected jihadists home.
Last month, 27 children aged four to 13 were flown from Iraq to the Moscow region. That followed the repatriation from Iraq of 30 children in late December.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in late 2017 called the drive to return the children "a very honourable and correct deed" and promised to help.
Some other foreign governments have also taken steps to bring the children of militants home.
France has repatriated five orphaned children of French militants' from camps in northeast Syria, the government said on March 15, in the first such transfer.
Belgium has said it will help the repatriation of children younger than 10, as long as the link with one Belgian parent is proven.


Israel says it has completed Gaza strikes after rocket fire

Updated 15 November 2019

Israel says it has completed Gaza strikes after rocket fire

JERUSALEM: Israel says it has completed a series of airstrikes on targets linked to the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza after rocket fire that rattled a day-old truce.
The military statement early on Friday indicates that Israel is willing to abide by the cease-fire if there are no additional rocket attacks.
The statement says Israel struck a military compound, a rocket-manufacturing site and a militant headquarters in the town of Khan Younis.
The airstrikes came after a barrage of rockets late Thursday. There were no immediate reports of casualties on either side.
It’s unclear whether the fighting would continue. The unofficial cease-fire that began early Thursday ended a two-day escalation triggered by Israel’s targeted killing of an Islamic Jihad commander.
The fighting killed 34 Palestinians, including 16 civilians.