French FM holds Iraq talks on ISIS prisoners in Syria

France's top diplomat held talks in Baghdad on Thursday (October 17th) about transferring foreign extremists from northern Syria to be tried in Iraq, AFP reported.

European governments are worried that the Turkish operation will allow the escape of some of the 12,000 suspected ISIS fighters -- including thousands of foreigners -- held by Syrian Kurds.

The issue was top of the agenda for French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in his talks with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Ali al-Hakim, President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Le Drian said he had discussed with Iraqi leaders "the way to implement an appropriate judicial mechanism" to try French and other fighters "in the best conditions".

The aim is for foreign fighters to be tried in Iraqi courts while upholding certain principles of justice and respect for human rights, a French diplomatic source said.

One issue will be Iraq's use of the death penalty, which is outlawed throughout the EU.

Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent officials on a technical mission to Baghdad this week to assess the situation.

"There are talks between the Americans, the British, French and Iraqis about funding the construction of prisons," Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi expert on ISIS, told AFP.

Le Drian urged the international coalition against ISIS to confront the "new risks created by the Turkish intervention in north-east Syria and the risk of an ISIS resurgence".

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