YPG captures ISIS torturer wanted by Germany

YPG forces captured an ISIS torturer and intelligence officer named Martin Lemke during the operation to clear Deir ez-Zor from ISIS gangs.

As the operation to clear Deir ez-Zor of ISIS gangs draws near its end, YPG forces have captured another German citizen alive. YPG forces announced that ISIS gang chief Martin Lemke was captured while he was fleeing Deir ez-Zor with his two wives, one of whom is German and the other French.

Lemke was born in the Zeitz district near the eastern German city of Leipzig. He was introduced to radical groups in Hildesheim in 2012. He was initiated into ISIS by Abu Walaa, ISIS officer for Germany, and went to Syria with his French wife Julie M. in late 2014.

Martin Lemke worked in a police unit in ISIS controlled town of Hisbah, and later started to work in Amniyat, the gangs’ intelligence organization. Lemke was tasked with abducting persons ISIS suspected and torture them for information. There are reports that many prisoners were killed under Lemke’s responsibility.


In an article in German newspaper Bild today, Lemke was wounded in a clash with the SDF in one of the last ISIS strongholds along the Syrian-Iraqi border in late 2018. It is not clear whether Lemke and his two wives will be brought to Germany and put on trial. It had been announced last week that some 130 French citizen ISIS members under arrest in Rojava were to be flown to France and put on trial.

But Germany hasn’t announced any such decision yet. With Lemke and his wives, the number of German citizen ISIS members the YPG holds has risen to 38. The Rojava administration has been calling on the Berlin government to deal with the German citizen ISIS members they hold. The Berlin government has only said that they are working on bringing the citizens in question to Germany.

YPG Press Center announced in early January that 8 foreign-born ISIS members from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, the US and Germany were captured in the Operation Cizire Storm in Hajin in Deir ez-Zor. Lucas Glaß in this group had an outstanding arrest warrant on him in Germany.

Some 2700 ISIS members captured in YPG operations are held in Rojava prisons. 800 out of this 2700 are citizens of 46 different countries, mostly western. The Rojava administration has been calling on the US, Germany and France to take action and take over the trial of the foreign-born gang members.