DAMASCUS -- Tajikistan's highest-ranking defector to the "Islamic State" (IS) appeared in a photo with his daughter, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)'s Tajik service reported Monday (July 31).
RFE/RL obtained the photo Monday, which shows Gulmurod Khalimov with one of his daughters. Khalimov, a former commander of the Tajik OMON riot police, fled to the Mideast in May 2015 and resurfaced in social media as an IS commander. He is wanted for treason in Tajikistan.
The photo is evidence that Khumairo Mirova, Khalimov's second wife, and her children fled to Syria in 2016, Mirova's brother Shokhnazar Mirov told RFE/RL. The girl in the photo is Khalimov and Mirova's daughter. However, the date and location of the photo are not known.
Meanwhile, more than 250 Tajik children are trapped in war zones in Iraq and Syria, RFE/RL's Tajik service reported Sunday (July 30), quoting a report from Tajikistan to the UN that RFE/RL obtained.
The report said that 234 Tajik families, including 110 girls and 142 boys, are in those countries. Tajikistan said it is working to extract its citizens from danger. In the past two years, it helped 19 Tajik families (including 61 people) leave those countries, according to the report.