ISIS members that have been held captive by the SDF are being sent back to the countries from where they came, including Europe, Russia and Kazakhstan, among others.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have begun extraditing ISIS family members to their countries of origin, in a bid to clear al-Hol Camp, which is severely overcrowded. The SDF officially concluded military operations against ISIS in Syria in March 2019, signaling the group’s territorial defeat in the country and the wider region.
During the operations to liberate Baghouz in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zour Province, thousands of women and children affiliated with ISIS militants began to evacuate the city, choosing to live in camps managed by the SDF. Although some family members attempted to hide with civilians, the SDF’s screening allowed the forces to separate families of militants from other civilians trapped inside the city.
Following the screening, families of ISIS militants were taken to a special part of al-Hol Camp, where they remained, awaiting their unknown fate.
Communication has been ongoing between the SDF and other countries for months concerning repatriating ISIS militants, although these discussions have led to limited success, with only a handful of countries taking them back.
According to Kamal Akef, the spokesperson for the Foreign Relations Department of the Kurdish-led Democratic Self-Government of North and East Syria, to which the SDF belongs, their administration has extradited hundreds of women and children to Iraq, France, Russia, Sudan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, and Sweden.
However, according to Akef, many countries have not formally communicated with their administration in regards to the logistics of repatriating these women and children. He revealed that while the families of five Dutch children born to ISIS militants, have reached out to repatriate their children, the Government has not been responsive, thus delaying the children’s return.
With no internationally accepted solution for this problem, the SDF and the Self-Government are relying on individual countries to reach out to them to agree to repatriation.
Both Iraqi and Syrian officials have called on the International Community to propose a solution for the thousands of women and children currently being held in displacement camps. They say that if this situation is not resolved soon, the region will be facing danger in the near future.