‘I won’t tell them mom’s dead’: Girl from Iraqi orphanage to be reunited with family tells RT crew
When shown video of their now happy grandparents in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, the two girls in far-away Baghdad, Fatima, 3 and Khadija,5, recognize the familiar faces and the joy becomes apparent.
“They are talking about Fatima and me. We are their children,” the elder girl says. When asked whether she wants to go back to them, she nods.
But the next moment, one of the girls, whose parents were reportedly killed in a drone strike in Iraq where their father had joined the Islamic State terrorist group, gets pensive.
“Mom wants to go to them, but I won’t tell where mom is. I can say she’s by the river. That’s all. I can say mom didn’t die, she’s by the river,” Khadija says.
Watching the recorded footage, her grandmother cries, “She felt sorry for us! She doesn't want to tell us that her mother is dead.”
The two sisters were recognized by their seven-year-old friend, who spotted the girls when watching an RT video about children whose parents were killed fighting alongside Islamic State. In a matter of days, RT received multiple calls from people who said they recognized the children seen in the video from an orphanage in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The footage aired earlier in August.
It's part of RT's “Bring them home” global campaign and if you have any information about the children in our videos, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Monday, Russia's presidential human rights council initiated a meeting with the Iraqi ambassador to Russia, urging further urgent measures to help Russian children caught in the midst of the fighting in Iraq.
Last week, the children’s ombudsman in Dagestan, Marina Ezhova, said authorities in the Russian republic had received over 200 appeals suggesting that children were taken to Iraq and Syria by their parents who joined terrorist groups there. However, the number of children now stranded in the war-torn countries might be “at least three times higher,” she suggested, explaining that many women left Dagestan pregnant and gave birth to more children while already in Iraq and Syria.