The Syrian Kurds have begun the release process for approximately 15,000 Islamic State family members from the notorious al-Hawl internment camp on the border with Iraq. The Kurds have long complained about an utter lack of European support and their inability to permanently guard the many prisoners at the camp.
The Kurdish administration has issued an amnesty for Syrian inmates in the al-Hawl camp and has begun their release. In al-Hawl, it is mainly women and children of ISIS terrorists who are held in captivity.
Kurdish Authorities: West Has ‘Total Disinterest’ in Helping With the Situation
The Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria accuse Western states of leaving them alone with the problem of IS prisoners. In the European countries, in particular, there is “a total disinterest.”
As an ally of the USA, the Syrian Democratic Armed Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-dominated militia alliance, have provided ground troops in the war against the Islamic State in recent years. After the jihadists’ military defeat in spring 2019, tens of thousands of ISIS members and their families were taken prisoner.
SDF troops are currently guarding around 11,000 ISIS fighters in around half a dozen camps in the Kurdish autonomous region in northeast Syria, including around 2,000 foreigners and tens of thousands of women and children.
The largest camp is al-Hawl. About 65,000 people are detained there. In addition to the approximately 25,000 Syrian inmates, around 31,000 Iraqi IS members and 9,000 prisoners from other countries are detained.
Why are the Kurds Releasing the ISIS Family Members?
The release aims to relive the administration of pressure and an improvement of the situation in al-Hawl.IS supporters are said to have led a regiment of terror in prison. The facilitation of “IS-related structures” in the camp became known in July. Children and young people would be indoctrinated and radicalized with the ISIS ideology. Inmates have tried to escape and attacked the guards several times.
Syrian women and children are now set to be released, and they could soon return to villages and towns in the northeast of the country. Syrian inmates in al-Hawl who seek to return home can register for the release and are then brought to their home region.
First Group of Prisoners Heads Home
The first group of almost 290 people left the camp two weeks ago and returned to the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor. Repatriation of camp inmates in Syrian areas, which are under the control of the government of President Bashar al Assad, is being worked on.
Turkey also captured ISIS fighters in northeast Syria. The Turkish army marched into the region a year ago in order to occupy the Kurdish autonomous region. Ankara then sent around 20 German Islamic State fighters who had been captured by Turkey back to Berlin. Extremists from other European countries were also deported to their home countries.
However, the majority of foreign and Syrian ISIS prisoners remained in camps under the care of the Kurdish national authorities.
What About Repatriating Foreign Fighters?
Elhalm Ahmad, head of the SDF’s political wing, has now announced talks with the home countries of foreign extremists who are in prison camps. The return of foreigners to Europe and other countries is difficult. The Kurdish autonomy authorities accuse Germany and other western states of rejecting to take back their citizens on the one hand, but on the other hand, blaming the Kurds for the poor conditions in the Syrian internment camps.
In fact, only Washington provided the Kurds with medical supplies worth $1.2 million in the spring to prevent the coronavirus outbreak in the northeast Syrian camps.
Germany and other countries did not provide any support, confirming the Kurdish criticism of Europe on this matter.