AIN ISSA: Syria’s Kurds on Monday called for an international court to be set up in the country to try suspected IS group militants following the announced fall of their “caliphate”.
IS imposed its brutal rule on millions living in the proto-state that it declared across a large swathe of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014.
The extremists stand accused of carrying out numerous crimes including mass executions, kidnappings and abuse.
“We call on the international community to establish a special international tribunal in northeast Syria to prosecute terrorists,” the Syria Kurdish administration said.
In this way, “trials can be conducted fairly and in accordance with international law and human rights covenants and charters”, it said in a statement.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces on Saturday announced the end of the “caliphate” after defeating IS militants in the eastern village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.
Kurdish-led forces, backed by a US-led coalition, have detained thousands of suspected IS fighters in more than four years battling the militants, including around 1,000 foreigners.
9,000 foreign IS relatives
While alleged IS fighters are held in jail, women and children suspected of being affiliated to the group are housed in Kurdish-run camps for the displaced.
More than 9,000 foreigners, including over 6,500 children, are being held in the overcrowded main camp of Al Hol, Kurdish spokesman Luqman Ahmi said on Monday, citing figures from a week ago.
The Kurdish administration has repeatedly called for the repatriation of foreign IS suspects, and warned it does not have capacity to detain so many people.
But the home countries of suspected IS members are reluctant to take them back, due to potential security risks and the likely public backlash.
“The Kurdish administration in northeast Syria has appealed to the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards members of the terrorist organisation detained by Kurdish security forces,” it said on Monday.
“But unfortunately there was no response.” It urged the international community, particularly countries that have nationals detained, to support the establishment of an international tribunal, calling for legal and logistical cooperation and coordination.
Tens of thousands of people streamed out of the last IS pocket on the eastern banks of the Euphrates in recent months, sparkling a humanitarian crisis.
The camp in Al Hol is now bursting at the seams, housing more than 70,000 people — in a place designed for just 20,000.
“Humanitarian conditions in Al Hol camp are extremely critical,” World Food Programme spokeswoman Marwa Awad said on Monday.
The Kurdish administration called on the UN to improve living conditions in the Al Hol camp.