Kurdish Authorities Deny Amnesty Claims of Torturing Detained ISIS Militants

Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria deny Amnesty International's allegations of torturing over 56,000 ISIS detainees. The authorities claim any crimes were individual acts and ask for evidence, while repatriation efforts for foreign nationals continue.

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Kurdish Authorities Deny Amnesty Claims of Torturing Detained ISIS Militants

Kurdish Authorities Deny Amnesty Claims of Torturing Detained ISIS Militants

Kurdish authorities in northeast Syria have denied allegations by Amnesty International that they tortured over 56,000 ISIS militants and their dependents detained in internment camps. The denial comes five years after ISIS was driven out of their last territory in Syria.

Why this matters: The treatment of ISIS detainees has significant implications for global human rights and the fight against terrorism, as it sets a precedent for how governments handle captured militants and their families. The international community's response to these allegations will also impact the region's stability and security.

The prisoners, including militants, wives, and children, are being held in camps such as Al-Hol and Roj. Al-Hol is the largest internment camp in northeast Syria, with over 43,000 detainees from 47 countries, most of whom are women and children related to ISIS fighters.

Amnesty International's Secretary-General, Agnes Callamard, accused the Kurdish authorities of committing war crimes, including torture, cruel treatment, and murder. The semi-autonomous Kurdish administration in northeast Syria responded by stating that they respect their obligations to prevent the violation of their laws, which prohibit such illegal acts, and adhere to international law.

The Kurdish authorities claimed that "any crimes that may have been perpetrated were individual acts" and asked Amnesty International to provide evidence of wrongdoing by their security forces and affiliates. They expressed their willingness to cooperate with Amnesty International regarding their proposed recommendations, stating, "We are open to cooperating with Amnesty International regarding its proposed recommendations, which require concerted regional and international efforts."

The Kurdish authorities have repeatedly asked the international community for help in managing the camps, which require huge financial resources. Efforts are ongoing to repatriate foreign nationals who joined ISIS back to their home countries. On Thursday, 50 women and children, family members of ISIS militants, were handed over to a delegation from Tajikistan for repatriation.

Tajikistan has said that over 1,000 fighters from the country joined extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, including ISIS. One of the most prominent Tajik fighters was Gulmurod Khalimov, an officer who defected and joined ISIS in Syria in 2015, rising through the ranks to become a top military commander. The Russian military reported that Khalimov was killed in a Russian airstrike in Syria's eastern province of Deir el Zour in September 2017.

Over the past few years, thousands of people, mostly Iraqis, have been repatriated from al-Hol camp. In May 2023, 104 Tajik citizens, including 31 women and 73 children, were repatriated, and in 2022, 146 women and children were returned to Tajikistan. Repatriation efforts continue, and the international community faces the ongoing challenge of dealing with the aftermath of ISIS's defeat and determining the fate of those who were associated with the terrorist group.

Key Takeaways

  • Kurdish authorities deny Amnesty International's allegations of torturing 56,000 ISIS detainees.
  • Detainees, including militants, wives, and children, are held in camps like Al-Hol and Roj.
  • Amnesty International accuses Kurdish authorities of war crimes, including torture and murder.
  • Kurdish authorities ask for international help in managing camps and repatriating foreign nationals.
  • Repatriation efforts continue, with thousands of people returned to their home countries.