First statement by Germany on YPG-held ISIS members

The Federal German Government said all options are being explored to bring the 35 German citizen ISIS members held by the YPG to Germany. There is an option that the Red Cross may intervene for the ISIS members.

YPG has been calling on the Merkel-led Federal German Government for the 35 German citizen members of ISIS (10 men, 10 women and 15 children) who were captured in operations against the gangs. When the Berlin administration failed to take action, Die Linke took the matter to the parliament and submitted a written inquiry to be answered by the federal government.

Die Linke MP Ulla Jelpke led the written inquiry, which the Foreign Ministry responded to. The short response stated that the Federal Government is exploring all options to bring the German citizens in question back to Germany. The Ministry also pointed out that the 14 German citizen ISIS members held by YPG, including one woman, have investigations launched against them by the Federal Chief Prosecutor’s Office.


One of the options is following meetings with the YPG, to take the arrested ISIS members to Iraq from Syria, where they will be handed over to German security forces. As Germany doesn’t have official representation in Syria, Red Cross officials or the Southern Kurdistan Federal Administration may intervene.

Cizre Canton Foreign Relations Council Co-chair Dr. Abdulkerim Omer spoke to mainstream German press in the past weeks and said Germany shouldn’t be silent regarding the ISIS members who are German citizens. Omer pointed out that foreign ISIS members are a great burden to them and said: “If the US, France and Germany as well as other countries in question don’t fulfill their responsibilities, we will have to start thinking about alternatives.”

It is estimated that there are over a thousand people who left Germany to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Turkish citizens rank first in German citizen ISIS members who also have another citizenship. According to the German government, the fate of only a small portion of ISIS members who left for Syria and Iraq is known. 170 of these people were declared dead.


There are some 2700 ISIS members captured by YPG special forces units who are currently held in prisons in Rojava Kurdistan. 800 of these are from 46 different countries, including many Western states. The Rojava administration wants the US, France and Germany to take action particularly, and take on the burden of putting said foreign ISIS members on trial.