Kurds in Syria extradite 20 Russian orphans from Islamic State families

The Syrian Kurds handed over 20 orphaned children born to parents associated with the terrorist group Daesh (Islamic State) to a Russian delegation for repatriation today, AFP reports.

Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria are holding thousands of foreigners in prison with alleged links to the jihadist group after leading a US-backed battle against Daesh, which recaptured the last stretch of their territory in early 2019.

The alleged foreign fighters are being held in prisons while women and children associated with the group live in IDP camps in northeastern Syria.

“Twenty Russian children who were in the Roy camp were handed over,” a statement from Kurdish authorities said, adding: “They are between the ages of three and 16 and are all in good health orphans.”

It is added that the recent repatriations have led to 205 people sent home to Russia so far.

In April, 34 orphans returned to Russia from the Kurdish-controlled region.

The Kurds in Syria have repeatedly called on the international community to repatriate foreign nationals held in crowded camps.

But their appeals were largely unheard, and so far only a limited number, mostly children, have been given the right to return home.

The latest repatriations come after the International Committee of the Red Cross this week raised concerns that Kurdish authorities are holding “hundreds of children” in adult prisons.

Yesterday, Kurdish Foreign Affairs Officer Abdelkarim Omar called for international assistance in setting up rehabilitation centers for minors in the region, which currently has only one such institution and another in preparation.