Russia repatriates 34 children from Syrian refugee camps

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Moscow said Sunday it had brought 34 children from refugee camps in Syria back to Russia, in its campaign to repatriate the offspring of Russian extremists.

An unknown number of children of Russian nationals who traveled to fight in Syria remain in refugee camps in Syria.

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Russia, which intervened in the Syrian civil war to help its ally Bashar al-Assad in 2015, has been returning the children over the years, in a process that has recently slowed.

“We brought home 34 children from Syria,” Moscow’s children rights commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova said on social media.

Lvova-Belova is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the alleged illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia.

She denies the charges.

Lvova-Belova said the children are aged from four to 16 years old and lived in refugee camps in the Euphrates region.

She said they will be met by relatives “for a new stage of life” in Russia in ten different regions.

It was “not easy” to ensure the mission to bring the children back to Russia went safely and there were “signs of the Middle-East conflict” in Syria, Lvova-Belova added.

The official said Russia plans to bring back another 150 children from Syria.

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