Volunteers trying to get 9-year-old back to Russia from battle zone in Syria

A Russian girl, Anastasia Jalu, is in the battle zone in Syria and public organizations intend to address the Russian authorities with a request to promote her repatriation, head of the Volunteers for Orphans fund Yelena Alshanskaya has announced.

"Anastasia is nine. Her mother was a Russian citizen and her father is Syrian. The mother died when the girl was less than 12 months old, and her grandmother and stepfather raised her since birth," Alshanskaya told Interfax on Sunday.

She said her birth father, a citizen of Syria and Russia, was stripped of parental rights in absentia by Russian court in 2012 and the girl was officially placed in the custody of her grandmother.

"The father took the girl to Syria in 2010 and is keeping her there illegally," Alshanskaya believes. She stressed that the girl has Russian citizenship.

"According to our knowledge, the girl now lives in horrible conditions, in the zone of hostilities near Aleppo," she said.

"In Russia Anastasia's grandmother who is her official custodian is waiting for her," she said.

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