Russia: 'Part of me is gone' — Grozny mothers seek out loved ones missing in Syria

Exclusive footage by RT from earlier this month features a group of researchers in Grozny seeking to trace individuals who left their families behind in Russia to join the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) amid the war in Syria. According to the group, over 600 hundred women and children missing, as a considerable majority of these individuals left Russia along with their... Еще family members. Family members meet with the researchers, usually bringing photos of their missing relatives with their names, date of birth and other information so as to be able to locate them. Larisa is searching for her grandchildren who she believes are in Syria. She has given in to the thought that she might never see her only son ever again. She has never met her grandchildren; both of them were born in Syria and communication with the son was lost long ago. «Probably that is why mothers die. I am crying all nights and days long. Will I be able to do something? I will turn 60 on September. Will I be able [to abide by these circumstances]? I will not,» she said in tears. Zarina, who spends almost all her free time in the group's offices, listens to the women's stories, fills out forms and registers the newcomers. Three years ago, her brother left home and never returned. His phone was tracked in Turkey, but she has not heard from him for almost three years. «He was always around. I guess after he left I feel like part of me is gone, I don't live a normal life now, I just exist,» Zarina said. One more woman hoped her son Iman, his wife Alina and their three children come back home soon. Zemfira Mekhtieva last saw them in 2014. They left for Syria without prior notice and Mekhtieva found out they were gone when she came to visit grandchildren. She was in touch with her son up until February 7, 2018. Mekhtieva hopes he is still alive. The daughter-in-law and two sons were taken captive in December 2017. As Mekhtieva says couple of months ago Alina managed to send a message from the prison. «She begged and pleaded, 'Dear mom, please help us out, tell Ziyad to help us out of here. We struggle in here. I gave birth to a girl on December 20',» Mekhtieva cannot help crying. Kheda Saratova, who leads the search for missing people in Grozny, spoke of alleged number of Russian women trapped in Idlib. She mentioned a man who helps families leave «the dangerous area.» «I asked him how many [women] are there, in this particular city of Idlib. As he answered I could not sleep a week after. 7,000 widows. Each woman has at least 3 children,» she reflected. According to her, the group's database in Grozny comprises of over 2,000 missing people.

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