A Russian delegation on Sunday repatriated over 34 orphan children whose families are suspected to have links to the Daesh terrorist organization from camps in northeastern Syria.
A correspondent of the Agence France-Presse (AFP) in the city of Qamishli said the children aged between three and 14 were handed over to a delegation headed by the Russian president's envoy for children's rights, Anna Kuznetsova.
Moscow has now repatriated at least 169 such children while more would follow, according to AFP.
Moscow has also been repatriating children abandoned in Iraq since the collapse of Daesh’s "caliphate" straddling both Arab states.
The issue of dealing with Daesh members and their families detained in Syria – including foreign members of the terrorist group – has been controversial, with Turkey arguing that foreign-born terrorists should be repatriated to their countries of origin, while several European countries have refused, saying the terrorists have been denationalized.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, nearly 5,000 foreign fighters traveled from the EU to conflict areas in Syria and Iraq, according to estimates by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known as Europol.
The U.N. has also been calling on countries to take back the children from Syria. Many of the children are sons and daughters of Daesh terrorists who once controlled large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
Al-Hol, the largest camp for refugees and displaced Syrians in the country, is currently home to almost 62,000 residents, according to U.N. humanitarian officials. More than 80% are women and children, many of who fled there after Daesh militants lost their last Syrian stronghold in 2019. There are a number of other camps in the northeast as well.
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