US repatriates nationals held in Syrian ISIS camp

The United States announced it successfully repatriated 24 Westerners, including 11 US nationals, from a Syrian camp detaining ISIS members and their families, according to Arab News and agencies on May 7th.

US, Kuwait and pro-US Kurdish fighters were involved in the operation.

The repatriation also included five children.

“This is the largest single repatriation of US citizens from northeast Syria to date,” said US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinked in an official statement.

“The only durable solution to the humanitarian and security crisis in the displaced persons camps and detention facilities in northeast Syria is for countries to repatriate, rehabilitate, reintegrate and, where appropriate, ensure accountability for wrongdoing,” he added.

READ: Iraq repatriates citizens from ISIS-linked Syrian camp

Despite US pressure, European countries have been hesitant to repatriate their nationals linked to ISIS, leaving them in squalid camps managed by Kurdish authorities.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) control most the territory previously under ISIS’ control in north-eastern Syria.

Over 56,000 prisoners are currently detained in the camps, with the SDF warning such conditions are ripe for further radicalisation.

READ: Kurdish authorities reject Amnesty torture accusations

While the repatriated individuals’ personal details were not disclosed officially, among the returnees is reportedly an American woman who followed her Turkish husband to join ISIS in Syria.

The couple’s nine children are also reportedly among those repatriated.

The topic of repatriation has stirred controversy in the US.

Under the former Trump administration an American-Yemeni woman from Alabama was denied repatriation, after a US court ruled her ineligible for US citizenship.

The Kurdish authorities have previously called on international support for dealing with the issue of leftover ISIS fighters and their families, citing financial and security concerns.

Arab News / Agencies

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