Maksim Maksimov, the Russian ambassador to Iraq, said the children were Russian and was a minor breakthrough to the deadlock over what to do with foreign families to ISIS militants.
Mr Maksimov said their mothers were incarcerated at a Baghdad prison, according to the office of Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights, Anna Kuznetsova.
Children of suspected Islamic State fighters (IS) arrive to board a Russian plane at the runway of Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad
Some of the children photographed appeared to be as young as three and were led through Baghdad’s international airport to a Russian state plane to take them to Moscow.
Many of the girls were headscarves and conservative garb. A few appeared anxious and afraid, while others looked with wonder around the airport and appeared excited to fly. None of the children appeared to have reached their teenage years.
Kuznetsova wore rubber gloves and a disposable surgical gown as she chaperoned the children to the plane. She arrived earlier Monday to meet with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.
An official at Iraq’s Justice Ministry said the children’s fathers were ISIS members and were killed fighting for the terror group.
Children of suspected ISIS fighters get ready to board a Russian plane from Baghdad airport
A Russian medical team checks the children of suspected Islamic State fighters
Children are checked over by a medical team before being allowed to board a plane back to Russia
Reporters were not allowed to speak to the children and did not provide any specifics about their cases.
It is unclear who will take care of the children when they arrive back in Russia, or where they will be resettled.
There could be thousands of children in Iraq and Syria born to foreign fighters who have had nowhere to go since the caliphate began to crumble in 2016.
Foreign governments have been reluctant to repatriate ISIS suspects and their families, leaving authorities in Iraq and Syria to put them in camps or jails instead.
Children of suspected Islamic State fighters (IS) are checked by medical teams
British authorities say approximately 850 people from the UK have travelled to support or fight for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq. Pictured: Children boarding a plane back to Russia
British authorities say approximately 850 people from the UK have travelled to support or fight for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.
Moscow has been proactive in trying to identify children of Russian origin as they said it would be dangerous to allow them to grow up in a radicalised environment.
Kuznetsova’s office said it had identified 123 Russian children in Iraq who required resettlement, and 699 Russian children across the region who had been ‘brought to the Middle East by their parents’ and could also return to Russia.
Approximately 5,000 Russians were believed to have flocked to the Islamic State group during its heyday earlier this decade. At its peak it held territory spanning most of northern Syria and Iraq, and claimed responsibility for terror attacks across Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Anna Kuznetsova, Children’s Rights Commissioner for the Russian President, waits along with the members of Russian delegation to receive children of suspected Islamic State fighters