The head of the Chechen Republic has ordered an "overall DNA harvesting" to help identify and retrieve Russian children who had been taken to terrorist-control territories in the Middle East.
“We are now actively working to establish the fates of Russian citizens – women and children – who have ended up in Iraq and Syria, and help them to return. At present, in order secure the return to Russia of children who were born in Middle Eastern countries, I have ordered a collective gathering of DNA test material,” Ramzan Kadyrov wrote in his latest post on popular Russian social network, Vkontakte.
“This would not only help to establish the children’s relatives, but also would help to give the kids Russian citizenship,” he added.
Russian authorities have recently pointed to the presence of dozens of women detained in Iraq's prisons of Iraq and the technical complications facing their return with their children. This prompted Kadyrov's call for DNA analysis, which would be an easy way to establish the kinship of the children of the militants and facilitate their retrieval.
During the past year, Kadyrov has made intensive efforts to repatriate the families of the militants who joined ISIS taking with them their wives and children to the area. Several private flights were organized from Iraq with more than 150 women and children on board, as well as two similar flights from Syria.
Kadyrov also says that his representative in the Middle East and North Africa Ziyad Sabsabi has agreed that all cases of Russian citizens in Iraq will be considered by one judge. "This will greatly facilitate and shorten the time for consideration of cases on the return of Russian children to their homes," Kadyrov added.
"On the instructions of the Russian leadership, we will be engaged in the return of our young citizens, doing our best. This is our sacred duty to protect the life and freedom of Russian citizens!"
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, from 50 to 70 Russians accused of participation in the ISIS terrorist organization and more than 100 of their children are in the jails of Iraq. The Chechen authorities have repeatedly stated that they will seek the return of these children to Russia. At the end of April, Iraq sentenced 19 Russians to life imprisonment for ties with ISIS.