“ISIS prisoners will either be returned home or tried here”

Dr. Abdulkarim Omar, Foreign Affairs Bureau Director of North and East Syria's Autonomous Region, identifies two ways of trying the arrested ISIS members, either locally or in their countries of origin.

After the military victory of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) over ISIS, 11,000 ISIS jihadists and 72,000 family members and children ended up arrested in self-governing areas. While the jihadists are held in prisons, the women and children are in refugee camps. Among them are people from 54 different countries. At the moment, the fate of foreign ISIS members and their relatives is being discussed.

ANF ​​spoke with the co-chair of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the Autonomous Region of North and East Syria, Dr. Abdulkarim Omar. He explained that two days after defeating ISIS, a commission was set up regarding the fate of foreign ISIS members and diplomatic activities began. Remarking that the question was an international problem, Omar said talks were held with several countries, especially with the states of the international anti-ISIS coalition. He stressed that an international tribunal for prisoners of ISIS jihadists must be set up.


However, the fight against the mentality of the ISIS has just begun, according Omar who continued to say: "March 23 is a historic date for us. Not just for us, but for the whole world. The ISIS was militarily defeated by the SDF that day. But our fight is not over. Nearly 6,000 ISIS members were arrested during the final operation. The number of women and children is very, very high. At the moment tens of thousands of ISIS members, their families and children from 54 states are with us."

"They will pose a threat to the future of all"

The region continues to be under constant threat, Omar emphasizes: "The presence of ISIS members raises serious concerns. Many parties, especially Turkey, are threatening us. If these people use a possible attack as an opportunity and try to escape, then they will pose a great threat to us and the world at large. All children over the age of eight were educated ideologically and militarily in camps known as the Future of the Caliphate. Their future is also cause for concern. If they are not rehabilitated, they will also pose a great danger in the future.

"Nobody wants to take back their own citizens"

But so far the European states in particular are not willing to take back their citizens. We are not of the same opinion. This region has experienced the greatest oppression, looting, destruction and massacres by the ISIS. The crime scenes are here, the ISIS members have been arrested here. Therefore, we think that these persons should be tried here before an international court."

"Judicial councils have started work"

On March 25, a commission was formed to set up an international court of justice and held talks with the countries of the international coalition in this regard. "Our judicial councils have also begun to prepare proceedings against these persons under the laws of northern and eastern Syria. We will try them here because the crime scenes are also here," explains Omar.

"There are two possible ways"

"At the moment there are two options: one is that the countries take back their citizens. But there is no country at the moment that acts accordingly. The other option is to bring these people to justice here and carry out the rehabilitation of women and children here. This also requires international support. The problem is much bigger than commonly thought. If both options are rejected, an alternative must be proposed. But as far as we can tell, no alternative has been developed so far."

"The terrorists of the future will be raised"

Omar continued; "What we said applies to the ISIS jihadists. But the situation of women and children is another topic. The women who have committed crimes in the ISIS system should be sentenced like the other jihadists. But the other women and children need a long-term rehabilitation and education process. If there is no work in this regard, their return to normal life, their participation in society and their healing process will be a serious problem. In the contrary case, the kids will grow into the terrorists of the future.”

"It is an international problem"

Dr. Abdulkarim Omar added; "We cannot do it all alone. It has to be done with the help of the international community because these people are their citizens. Many children have lost both parents. Many women have children from men from other countries. For example, a woman has five children. The father of each child comes from another country. The problem is an international one. So far, no country has told us that our proposal would not work. There are even some countries that show a positive attitude. At the moment this matter is still new and our talks continue. We are convinced that we will all lead the fight together in this regard. Because there is no alternative.”