Is Turkey smuggling ISIS detainees out of Syria?

Thousands of ISIS members ended up detained in eastern Syria as the SDF & the US-led Coalition forces defeated ISIS

Turkey’s pro-government media is celebrating an operation by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization that “rescued” a Moldovan woman and her four children from “terrorists in northern Syria.”

In the language of Turkey’s pro-government media, what this actually means is Turkey’s intelligence service apparently smuggled a woman and children out of an area in eastern Syria that is under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The entire story appeared to shed light on a larger issue. Tens of thousands of ISIS members, including their families, ended up detained in eastern Syria in the last several years as the SDF and the US-led coalition forces defeated ISIS.

Thousands of these detainees in eastern Syria are citizens of foreign countries. Because the SDF is not a state, but a non-state actor, most foreign ministries of countries prefer not to negotiate directly with it regarding ISIS detainees. This leaves the detainees in limbo.

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The more than 70 countries that are partners of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition mostly don’t want their citizens back. For instance, last week, the case of Shamima Begum, a former British citizen who traveled to live under ISIS control as a teenager, has been in the spotlight. While the UK tried to rid itself of thousands of its citizens who joined ISIS, a court has now ruled that Begum can return to the UK to contest the attempt to strip her of citizenship.

Read more: jpost