Oct 15, 2019 13:09 UTC
  • HRW: Europe must repatriate Daesh inmates from Syria

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned against the transfer of the Daesh terror group’s European members from prisons in northern Syria to Iraq in the wake of an ongoing Turkish offensive, saying that the European states should instead repatriate them for prosecution.

On Tuesday, the New York-based NGO raised concerns about attempts by some European states to facilitate the transfer of Daesh inmates to Iraq for trial from prisons in the Kurdish-held northern regions of Syria as the Turkish offensive has increased the odds of a jailbreak there.

According to the Kurdish authority, around 12,000 Daesh suspects are held in jails across Syria’s northeast, some 2,500 of whom are non-Iraqi foreign nationals.

Recently, fears have grown that Daesh elements may escape from prisons in Syria as the Kurdish forces guarding them are diverting manpower to fend off the Turkish offensive.

HRW’s Iraq researcher Belkis Wille claimed that trials in Iraq were “inherently unfair and replete with due process violations,” urging Britain, Denmark, France, Germany and other countries to secure their citizens’ repatriation.

“Given Iraq’s record of unfair trials, European states should not promote efforts to have their nationals transferred there for prosecution,” she said.

Any government supporting such a move “without taking measures to remove the risk of torture, sham trials and execution risks contributing to serious abuses,” she added.

Turkey launched its military campaign, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, against the Kurdish militants controlling northeast Syria last Wednesday, just days after the US pulled its forces out of the region in what is widely viewed as Washington’s betrayal of its longtime Kurdish allies.