Call for Europe for 800 ISIS arrestees in Rojava

A press conference was held in Brussels, Belgium for the ISIS arrestees and their families in Northern and Eastern Syria.

The conference was organized by Cizire Canton Foreign Relations Council Co-chair Dr. Abdulkerim Omer and the Brussels Kurdish Institute in the European Press Club.

Free University of Brussels Clinical Psychology Professor Gerrit Loots and V-Europe (an NGO that defends victims of terrorism in Belgium) Chairperson Philippe Vansteenkiste attended the conference alongside Omer. Loots and Vansteenkiste had recently visited Rojava and made in situ observations.

The conference on the foreign gang members under arrest in Rojava and Northern and Eastern Syria and their family members pointed to the role of Europe in particular.

The speakers said European governments are responsible for the safety and future of the children of ISIS members in Northern Syria, and added that European citizen ISIS members should be tried and sentenced in their own countries. The conference was followed by a wide array of media institutions.


Omer said the Turkish army unjustifiably targeted the region of Kobanê on October 27 against the last pockets of ISIS in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, and added that this “constitutes a flagrant support for ISIS.”

Omer said the Turkish state attacked Kobanê and Gire Spî in the days after, and added that Kobanê is under attack again “at the time of this conference now”.

Omer also pointed out that the attack came one day after the quadruple summit in Istanbul.

“We condemn these attacks, and demand that the international community, the international coalition in particular, speak up,” said Omer and went on to talk about the gang members under arrest in Northern and Eastern Syria and their families.


Omer pointed to the SDF operations and said: “The military campaign, launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in coordination with the international coalition, managed to liberate large swathes of lands in Northern and Eastern Syria. It is estimated that about 30% of the total area of Syria has been liberated from the terrorism of the Islamic State.”

Omer added that the fight against ISIS terrorism continues and pointed out that ISIS still poses a threat to the free world and the common human values.

“The sacrifices our forces made to defeat terrorism on behalf of all humanity were heavy,” said Omer and continued: “8.000 of our men and women fell while combating terrorism, and nearly 5.000 were permanently physically disabled. ISIS destroyed entire towns and villages, and displaced thousands of their residents, who are now living in camps that lack basic services.”

Omer stressed that only a new and democratic Syria can stop gangs like ISIS.


Omer said ISIS members from 46 different countries have been captured in the ongoing war and gave information on the number of gang members and their families.

Omer said 790 ISIS members, 584 women and 1.248 children have been captured to date and added that the women and children stay in the Al-Hawl, Roj and Ayn Isa refugee camps.

“The number of terrorists and their families are still on the rise due to the ongoing campaign in Deir ez-Zor,” said Omer and added that up to 5.000 ISIS fighters are estimated to still be in the area around Hajin and its outskirts, the last stronghold of IS.


Omer said the arrested gang members pose a big issue and a threat for them, and added that if they get a chance to flee due to Turkish state attacks, they may pose a threat for Europe too.

Omer said the international community needs to take responsibility for the families and children of ISIS members and added that this issue is a huge burden on them. Omer stressed that the captured gang members should also be tried and sentenced in their own countries.


Omer added that they are in dialogue with the international coalition but they haven’t received any support in the matter. Omer also asked European media to take the matter on and pressure governments.

Omer pointed out that there are citizens from all European countries among the ISIS arrestees: “But not one European country has appealed. Similarly, none of the coalition countries that we are in an alliance with have started any initiatives.” Omer added that some ISIS members were turned over to Russia and Belgium had also sent an e-mail for information on the children.

Omer stated that the number of ISIS members from each country can’t be made public for security reasons.