Turkish offensive raises issue of foreign jihadists detained in Syria

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The Al-Hol camp, which currently houses more than 70,000 displaced people, including 12,000 foreign women and children, in northeastern Syria on March 31. MAYA ALLERUZZO / AP

"In case the Kurds or Turks lose control, the United States has already recovered the two militants of the(organization) Islamic State (EI) related to beheadings in Syria, known as "Beatles", out of this country and in a secure place controlled by the United States. They are the worst of the worst! " As usual, it is by a tweet, published Thursday, October 10, that US President Donald Trump unveiled an operation led by US forces to secure jihadist fighters detained by the Kurdish authorities, after the launch, the day before, a Turkish offensive against their territories in northeastern Syria.

US officials have confirmed that in addition to these two "Beatles" – the British El Shafee El-Sheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey – the security, or even the transfer out of Syria, of forty other senior members of IS was also considered.

Read also Syria: after the Turkish offensive, the US army recovers two "Beatles", well-known fighters of the Islamic State in the hands of the Kurds

Iraqi intelligence officials told the Associated Press Thursday that the US authorities planned to hand over to Baghdad some 50 jihadists, whose nationality has not been specified.

Escapes and riot

The Turkish offensive against northeastern Syria has revived the issue of the transfer of some 2,000 foreign jihadist fighters detained in Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) prisons.

Because there are risks of escape if the places of detention are bombarded or abandoned by their guards mobilized in front line. However, Kurdish forces have already left the prisons to join the front, said US officials, but in limited numbers.

According to Kurdish forces, five jihadists escaped Friday from a prison near Kameshliyé after Turkish raids. On the same day, a riot broke out in Al-Hol camp, home to more than 70,000 displaced people, including 12,000 foreign women and children, a camp official said.

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And if the Syrian Kurds, facing the Turkish danger, approach Damascus, these prisoners would fall into the hands of the Syrian authorities. Turkey, moreover, blows hot and cold blackmail vis-à-vis the Western countries concerned. "Countries like Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Belgium do not want to take them back, but they are their nationals. They must take them back, judge them and let justice take its course ", BBC spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told the BBC on Thursday. Recep Tayyip Erdogan then nuanced the threat, assuring that Ankara would keep them in detention.


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