There has been no resolution to the problem of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) members and their families still being kept in prisons and camps in Northern and Eastern Syria under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). This is despite the fact that a meeting to discuss the situation was held on 28 June in Rome, Italy, with the participation of foreign ministers from the G7, Saudi Arabia and Jordan as well as the ‘Small Group’ countries of Turkey and Qatar.
Almost a month after the Rome meeting, Farhad Shami, the Head of the Office of Media and Information at the SDF, has warned that ISIS members and their families constitute a threat not only to the region but the whole world as no practical moves have been undertaken to arrive at a resolution to the problem.
Speaking to ANHA, Shami presented the latest figures relating to the ISIS prisoners and their families. He stated that there were more than 12,000 prisoners in facilities in Northern and Eastern Syria, half of whom were citizens of European, Asian and Arabic countries, while more than 70,000 family members of ISIS militants were living in camps in the same region.
“They are a threat to the security of the whole world. The children in the camps are being indoctrinated with violence,” he said.
“The uncertainty regarding the fate of ISIS prisoners and families encourages the leaders of the ISIS gangs. They are able to reach ISIS militants from foreign countries through them. This will end when the imprisoned ISIS members are put on trial, are held accountable for the crimes they committed and victims are compensated.”
Emphasizing that countries who have their citizens imprisoned as ‘ISIS members’ in Northern and Eastern Syria tend to take a “narrow approach,” Shami stated: “They want these criminals to stay out of their countries. Some turn it into an issue in their domestic politics. These approaches are neither humane nor ethical. They serve as a barrier that prevents the termination of ISIS.”
“This is an international issue,” he stated. “Special Courts must be established for imprisoned ISIS members. Individual actions of states won’t bring about any solution. There were certain calls before the last meeting of the International Coalition. Some countries, in particular, expressed their desire for a solution. They actually tried to do something to start legal processes for ISIS members and solve the problem. Some states, on the other hand, shut their eyes to the situation, or still aren’t clear about their stance regarding ISIS terror. Turkey is one among the latter. They opened their borders, provided intelligence and logistical support. The ISIS members fleeing Baghuz took refuge in Turkey. It can’t be denied that the Turkish state provided support to ISIS. There are dozens of documents indicating this.”
Shami confirmed that they had presented a proposal to establish an independent International Court in Northern and Eastern Syria. “In the case of establishing a Court here, the victims and witnesses can easily have access to the Court and join the process by presenting their evidence. On the other hand, possible attacks in the region must be prevented in the course of the trials. Justice can be achieved only through security.”