Bilal Tagirov was just two years old when his father kidnapped and took him to Syria in October 2015. The toddler was returned to the arms of his mother Zalikha Ashakhanova in Grozny, Thursday.
«I don’t even know how to express my gratitude, because I didn’t believe I would see this day, that it would come so soon,» Zalikha said.
Hassan Tagirov, Bilal’s father, disappeared to fight for the... Еще self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, taking his son with him. Zalikha only found out that her son was in Mosul by chance when she saw a video of him online on July 15, 2017.
Having learnt of Bilal’s situation, Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov ordered his representative in the Middle East, Ziyad Sabsabi, to use his diplomatic connections to return Bilal.
According to a post on Kadyrov’s Instagram account, Bilal and his father were discovered seriously injured in the ruins of a building in Mosul. Bilal was treated and returned to Russia. The fate of his father is unknown.
Sabsabi is currently working on identifying other children taken from Russia to Syria and Iraq and returning them to Russia.
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