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February 1, 2019 » Kids Under Fire

Vladimir Putin shows rare soft spot to rescue Russia’s ISIS children

Vladimir Putin shows rare soft spot to rescue Russia’s ISIS children

Zalina Gabibulayeva has had five children, four husbands and two jail sentences. All her spouses were Islamist militants who are either dead or in prison, the last two in Syria, where she was among hundreds of women stranded by the war before officials brought her back to Russia.

“I thank God every day that we are here,” Gabibulayeva, 37, said by phone from Grozny, the capital of Russia’s mostly Muslim republic of Chechnya, where she and her children receive about 40,000 rubles ($610) per month in state welfare payments.

While President Vladimir Putin is renowned for his ruthless approach to terrorists — once vowing to “waste them in the outhouse” – Russia has been more willing than many Western nations to help women and children linked with Islamic State fighters to return home from the Middle East. He’s explained the motivation by saying children didn’t choose to go to the conflict zone “and we have no right to leave them there.”

Nearly 100 family members of jihadists in Syria and Iraq were repatriated in late 2017 before Russia’s intelligence service raised security concerns in a country that’s repeatedly been the target of terrorist attacks. Russia’s experience illustrates challenges facing the U.S. and Europe as they decide how to deal with citizens captured in Syria and Iraq who were part of Islamic State.

Source: Bloomberg Quint

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