9,000 Islamic State Terrorists Being Held By US-Backed Forces in Syria
US-backed fighters in Syria have reportedly detained more than 9,000 Islamic State terrorists, including 2,000 foreign nationals that traveled to the war-torn country from outside the Middle East. According to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces—which played the leading role on the ground in vanquishing ISIS’ so-called “caliphate”—an additional 60,000 people referred to by Washington as Islamic State “affiliates” are being held in makeshift camps. Though the majority of these individuals are women and children, Western officials nevertheless view them as potential security threats given their possible imbuement with radical Islamist ideology. There are also fears that ISIS members have blended into the civilian population and are laying low until such time they can regroup and mount a renewed insurgency. The number of ISIS-linked prisoners increased dramatically during the SDF’s recent weeks-long assault to liberate Syria’s northeastern enclave of Baghouz, which was the Islamic State’s last stronghold in the nation. The SDF previously stated that it does not have the capacity to detain the ISIS captives indefinitely and, with the apparent backing of President Donald Trump, called on European countries in particular to repatriate their natives and put them on trial back home. While sources claimed that only two dozen American citizens are among those being held in Syria, the fate of all “foreign terrorist fighters” is a concern for the US military as it plans to carry out Trump’s call to for a complete withdrawal of some 2,000 troops.