Crime & Justice |

Syria's Kurds renew appeal for aid to judge ISIS fighters



Kurdish fighters watch over women inside al-Hol camp in Syria's al-Hasakeh province on January 14th, in the section reserved for Iraqis and Syrians. The camp is housing women and children affiliated with ISIS. [Delil Souleiman/AFP]

Syria's Kurds on Sunday (February 23rd) renewed their appeal for international aid to put on trial thousands of captured members of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

Almost a year since the March 2019 fall of the last ISIS bastion in Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are backed by the international coalition, still hold about 12,000 suspected ISIS elements in the country's north-east.

Most of them are Syrian or Iraqi nationals, but their ranks include between 2,500 and 3,000 nationals from around 50 other countries.

In the face of hesitation on the part of some countries to repatriate their own nationals, the Kurds have resigned themselves to having to put those detained on trial in Syria.

The semi-autonomous Kurdish authorities "need international co-operation", said Fener al-Kait, a foreign affairs official in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli.

"We need a lot, at the judicial and technical levels," he said, adding that several countries were expected to come forward with assistance "in a month or two", without identifying them.

Al-Kait on Sunday met with a parliamentary delegation from Belgium, 15 of whose nationals are held by the Kurds, while more than 60 Belgian women and children remain in camps for suspected ISIS family members.

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