Foreign ISIS captives to be prosecuted in Syria, Kurdish forces announce

Foreign ISIS members captured by Kurdish forces will be put on trial in Syria beginning in the spring after their governments failed to repatriate them, local authorities said Thursday.

The administration that controls northeastern Syria announced it would conduct trials for the thousands of imprisoned foreign nationals following a meeting with the Finnish foreign ministry.

Dozens of Canadians are among the detainees.

“We explained our intention to set up a special court for ISIS to the Finnish government and asked for help from the legal and technical aspects, and that this trial be transparent and public,” the statement said.


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Kurdish fighters are holding more than 1,000 men, 4,000 women and 8,000 children from 53 countries, said Fener al-Kait, assistant minister in the External Affairs Ministry.

Captured during the collapse of ISIS, they are being held in makeshift prisons and camps throughout the region.

“This is an international crisis, and an international solution must be found for them,” al-Kait said.

The Rojava Information Centre said local ISIS members have faced sentences of up to 20 years for frontline fighters, and life for those guilty of killings and crimes against humanity.

The administration is seeking support from international governments, lawyers and observers “to ensure as fair and transparent a process as possible,” the RIC reported.

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Canadian woman detained in Syria says she accepts she could face prosecution

Canadian woman detained in Syria says she accepts she could face prosecution

Kurdish and U.S. authorities have appealed to Ottawa to repatriate the Canadians and prosecute them, but the Liberal government has declined to do so.

Many other governments have similarly abandoned their citizens.

None of the Canadians yet face any charges in Canada, although several have openly acknowledged their involvement in ISIS in interviews with Global News.

According to Public Safety Canada documents obtained by Global News, the government is arguing it has no legal obligation “to take steps to facilitate their return to Canada.”

The government is also claiming that Syria is an active conflict area “and safety concerns currently prevent Canadian officials from travelling to northeastern Syria,” according to the documents.


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The international inaction has prompted the local Kurdish administration to put the detainees on trial through its own justice system, with or without the co-operation of foreign governments.

“Unfortunately, many states have not responded to our appeals. For example, we have handed over less than 10 per cent of ISIS-linked children to their countries so far,” al-Kait said.

“There is the urgent need for a solution to this issue in our region and to pressure states to receive their nationals.”

The Syrian Democratic Forces, which defeated ISIS in Syria, were already struggling to hold more than 100,000 captives when Turkey invaded the regional last October, adding to the regional instability.

“We are in a period of siege on top of the economic crisis that is ravaging Syria, and we also ask for humanitarian organizations that suspended work within the region after the Turkish attacks to communicate with the administration and provide assistance to the displaced.”

The trials will begin in March, said Abdulkarim Omar, the foreign minister for the administration that controls the region, said in comments posted on his Facebook page.

Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca


(C) 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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