US-backed militants in Syria say holding 900 Daesh terrorists
A US-backed Kurdish militant group says it is holding around 900 foreign members of the Daesh terrorist group in Syria.
According to Press TV, Militant Spokesman Nuri Mahmud said on Thursday the so-called People's Protection Units (YPG) had rounded up thousands of Daesh members during the last few years.
"Around 900 Daesh terrorists are in our jails... from 44 countries," said Mahmud whose tally is a sharp rise from the figure of 520, given by another Kurdish official last month.
Nuri said Kurdish authorities have repeatedly called on the home countries of the terrorists to take them back. "Most countries have been flouting their responsibility," he added.
Syrian Kurds also hold 550 women and around 1,200 children from the families of Daesh members, he said.
A King’s College London study earlier estimated that around one fifth of Daesh's terrorists were residents or nationals of Western Europe.
In June, the Daily Telegraph said the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Western-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants, had released foreign Daesh elements, including Europeans, back to the Takfiri terrorist group through secret prisoner swap deals.
The daily cited people with knowledge of the talks between the two sides and relatives of those detained as saying that the SDF had struck three agreements with Daesh to exchange terrorists and their families with its own captured members.
Senior officials in Damascus have accused Washington of using Kurdish militias, now that other US-backed militant outfits have lost ground on the battlefield.
Last September, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said that American aircraft in Syria were transporting Daesh terrorists to other places presumably to be later used in those areas.
The US has been conducting airstrikes against what it says are Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate.
The US and its allies have repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians and drawn criticism over their failure to destroy Daesh, which they claim to be fighting.