Kurdish authorities in Rojava to try Islamic State prisoners under international monitoring in early 2021
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Thousands of suspected members of the Islamic State (ISIS) will be tried in northeast Syria (Rojava) in early 2021, a Kurdish official has confirmed to Rudaw.
The trials will be conducted by the Kurdish authorities as per local laws but under international monitoring led by Sweden, the official told Rudaw English on Wednesday.
ISIS prisoners “will be tried in the beginning of 2021 as per Rojava laws,” said Sheikhmous Ahmed, head of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES) office for internally displaced persons and refugees.
“There will be observers from Sweden which has indirectly expressed its support for the trials,” said the Rojava official, adding that observers from other countries will also monitor the trials.
Ahmed said that Sweden will play a “significant role” in the trials . Both men and women will face prosecution.
Rojava is home to tens of thousands of ISIS-affiliated prisoners – including 10,000 foreigners, 5,000 Iraqis and some 25,000 Syrians. There are also about 68,000 people of many nationalities, including Syrians, in the notorious al-Hol camp in Hasaka.
Most of the prisoners were detained during the fight against ISIS between 2014 and 2019, especially when the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) regained control of Baghouz, the last bastion of the terror group, in March 2019.
Shiyar Ali, representative of the NES in Sweden, told Sweden’s SVT television service on Wednesday that they have already begun legal proceedings for the trials, expected to begin in January or February.
“We are ready to repatriate the orphans and the humanitarian cases to Sweden but those who committed crimes here will be tried,” head of NES Foreign Relations Abdulkarim Omar told the outlet.
Beatrice Eriksson, spokesperson for the newly-founded Repatriate the Children Sweden group, told Rudaw English on Wednesday that ISIS-linked children with Swedish citizenship should be repatriated.
“The children shouldn’t even be there in the first place. Sweden, and the international community, should have made sure no families even traveled to Syria and Iraq. And as a second step, Sweden should have brought them home already,” said the spokesperson.
“Most of the Swedish children held captive are below the age of five years. No child can be claimed guilty of any crime, yet they are kept locked up in terrible conditions. They need to be rescued immediately, with no further delay.”
A Swedish delegation, led by the Special Envoy for the Syrian Crisis Per Orneus, met with Kurdish officials and parties in Rojava this week.
The delegation discussed building “strategic relations” with Rojava as well as supporting them politically and militarily.
“We discussed means of supporting the region politically and militarily, solutions regarding ISIS detainees in the SDF prisons and their families, and how to build strategic relationships that serve the region,” said Newroz Ahmed, commander of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).