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Chechen woman appeals for return of child from Iraq

19 July 2017
Zulikha Ashakhanova’s son (video screenshot)

On 17 July, a woman from Chechnya applied to the local Prosecutor’s Office with a request to assist her in bringing back her young son from Iraq. The Prosecutor’s Office has begun verification of her claims.

According to a statement released by the Chechen Prosecutor’s Office, the then–two-year-old son of Zulikha Ashakhanova was kidnapped two years ago by her former husband and taken to a location conflict zone within Syria.

‘The prosecutor of the republic has immediately began to investigate these claims. Comprehensive measures will be taken to reunify the child with his mother by the relevant government authority on children’s rights in the Chechen Republic and other official agencies’, the statement reads.

Last week, pictures and videos of small children, allegedly Chechens who had been taken by their parents to Syria and Iraq, made the rounds on Chechen social media. Some users claimed that a blonde four-year-old speaking broken Arabic in one of the videos was Zulikha Ashakhanova’s son.

Video allegedly showing Zulikha Ashakhanova’s son, Bilal Tagirov (Kavkaz.Realii)

According to Akhmet Yarlykapov from the Kremlin-affiliated Institute for International Studies, at least 10,000 natives of the North Caucasus are fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Many of them are there with their families.