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Rudaw

Syria

SDF could release 3,200 of its ISIS prisoners, withdraw from frontline: monitor

By Rudaw 20/12/2018
SDF fighters attend a funeral in Qamishli, October 29, 2018. Photo: AFP
SDF fighters attend a funeral in Qamishli, October 29, 2018. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Withdrawal of US troops from northeast Syria could prompt the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to abandon the front against ISIS and release its jihadist detainees, a war monitor warned on Thursday. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said the SDF is seriously considering the release of 3,200 foreign and local ISIS fighters in Syria after home countries refused to take them back. 

The Kurdish-led force is also considering its own withdrawal from the frontline against ISIS in Deir ez-Zor in order to defend its territory against a feared Turkish operation.

“Multiple credible sources” told SOHR that the military and political leadership of SDF controlled areas had a “long meeting” following the news of the US withdrawal. 

“It discussed seriously releasing thousands of elements of the Islamic State organization and their families, including children and women, in prisons or Syrian Democratic Forces’ camps,” said the war monitor Thursday.

The SDF is holding around 2,080 women and children from 44 different countries and 1,100 fighters from 31 different countries.

SOHR said the prisoners could be freed on Syrian territory very soon.

Thousands of foreign fighters, among them some the most radical members of ISIS, are held in SDF prisons. Their home countries, fearing that they cannot successfully prosecute them, are unwilling to take them back.

Such a mass release could revive the ISIS insurgency, which had been on its last legs. 

SOHR also reported the SDF is considering withdrawal from its frontline positions against ISIS and redeploying to northern and western areas to hold off a feared Turkish intervention.

Turkey had been dissuaded from launching an operation east of the Euphrates by the US military presence in Manbij and northeast Syria. The US withdrawal changes the arithmetic on the ground. 

An SDF withdrawal from the front with ISIS, which holds a shrinking pocket of territory, could allow the jihadists to regroup.  

Comments

 
Renas | 20/12/2018
Or they could just accept the return of Roj peshmerga, which both the coalition and Turkey have demand. That is why U.S leaves. It is time to scrap apo and communism, it is time for PYD and YPG, either they will accept it or lose all of it to Turks. They Will all be killed by turks, plus 10s of thousands of civilians Will be killed. 100s of thousands will be refugees. So scrap all your 100 flags with communist stars, let Roj peshmerga return and be part of Kurdish people or lose all!
Unite | 20/12/2018
Turkey must be celebrating for the release of their creatures they have created and and have been trying to protect for years by any mean they could muster.
Henny | 20/12/2018
What's there to consider exactly? release them ASAP and withdraw your forces north towards the Turkish threat. The US will withdraw from Rojava and Turkey will launch an operation, the only question is when not if. The fact that none of the other countries care if these thousends of mad jihadists and their families will revive ISIL is not Kurds problem.
PleaseDo | 20/12/2018
I would be happy to see YPG stop fighting ISIS. Syria will quickly take over and win the places back. The ‘ISIS will come back’ rant will also be over and YPG can finally become what it really is; A terror group.
anon | 20/12/2018
Only option is to kill them if they don't take them back.
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