06/12/2015, 00.00
RUSSIA
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Moscow concerned for students joining IS

by Nina Achmatova
Story of young Muscovite, of Orthodox family, who authorities arrested on the Turkish-Syrian border, presumably before she joined the Islamic State. Russian authorities: "Not the only example of recruitment of young people."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Varvara Karaulova has returned to Russia. The young student from Moscow who on May 26 disappeared from home and was arrested on June 4 in Turkey, while she was about to cross the border with Syria with 13 other young people, presumably to join the ranks the Islamic state. The girl (v. Photo), who now risks arrest at home, however, will have to explain to investigators the reason for her trip to Turkey: she could be indicted for "attempted participation in an illegal armed formation", as Interior Ministry sources explained.

The story of the philosophy student, who comes from a family of Orthodox faith, has disturbed the Russian public opinion, so far used to thinking that recruitment into the ranks of the jihadists was a phenomenon limited to the regions of the Caucasus, with a Muslim majority.

Immediately after the news of Varvara’s alleged enlistment among the ranks of the IS, some civil society representatives sent a request to the Russian Minister of Education Dmitri Livanov, to create a special service "for the prevention of radical and extremist sentiment" in schools and universities.

For its part, on June 9, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Patrushev, again warned that terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State, are trying to recruit Russian citizens throughout the country and called on the secret services of different countries to "strengthen cooperation for the fight against recruiters". "The recent case of the Russian student is not an isolated example of recruitment among young people by Islamic extremists," admitted Patrushev. Presidential administration sources have revealed "apprehension" especially for the "growing number of women" attracted by terrorists.

A far more tragic story than Karaulova’s occurred in St. Petersburg, according to reports from the information website Fontanka.ru: Fatima Dzhamalova, 19, student of pediatrics and native of Dagestan, left for Istanbul on May 18 from the Pulkovo airport then appeared in Syrian territory a few days later. Reportedly from the website, citing the girl's parents, already in Istanbul Fatima had regretted her choice and had sent messages of help, but in vain. She is already in the hands of the Isis militants and the possibility of saving her, Fontanka writes, is "zero".

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