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The New Arab

IS Chechen families handed over to Russian government

Raqqa has been ruined from intense bombing [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 November, 2017

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The families of Chechen foreign fighters have been returned to Russia by Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

Wives and children of Chechen Islamic State group fighters in Syria have been sent back to Russia, according to Kurdish forces in control of Raqqa.

Around 13 women and 29 children were handed over to Russian authorities according to the report.

"We are officially handing over IS families to the Russian state," Nuri Mahmud, spokesperson for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) who control much of northern Syria.

The YPG units found the Chechen fighters' families when they took the Syrian city of Raqqa, IS' former stronghold.

IS expanded into northern Iraq and Syria in 2014, when they announced the establishment of its so-called "caliphate".

A call for foreign fighters was made with a large number of Chechen fighters making their way to Syria and Iraq to fight for the group.

Chechen fighters are thought to be some of IS' most hardened and experienced fighters, with Abu Omar al-Shishani leading the group's fighters until his death in 2016.

On Monday, a Chechen IS fighter disguised as a Russian soldier detonated his bomb belt at Deir az-Zour airport in eastern Syria, according to pro-regime media.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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