German MEP Hannah Neumann visits North and East Syria

ZALIN, Syria — German Member of European Parliament Hannah Neumann (Alliance 90 / The Greens) travelled to North and East Syria last week to learn more about the reality of life in the region, especially after the Turkish-led invasion of Tel Abyad and Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn) in October 2019, and to see “the conditions of the Hawl and Roj Camps, where the families of [Islamic State] ISIS militants are located.”

MEP Neumann is head of the EU parliamentary delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula and Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights.

She first visited the Foreign Relations Commission of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) in Zalin (Qamishli) on Thursday.

Neumann was received by the Co-Chair of the Commission, Dr. Abdul Karim Omar, his deputy, and members of the Commission’s administrative board.

Neumann pointed out that many of the Islamic State militants and their families being held in Al-Hol Camp come from the EU, U.K., and other countries, making it a global problem, not merely one for Iraq and Syria.

Neumann stated that she believes it is the EU’s responsibility to ensure a fair trial for ISIS militants.

“Not all families of ISIS militants can be left together in the camps, because this will lead to further extremism, as experience has shown before,” she said.

During the meeting, the prospects for a political solution to the Syrian crisis were also discussed, as was the capabilities of the DAA’s health system in light of the spread of the coronavirus and the impact the virus has had on the people of North and East Syria.

Omar highlighted the importance of the support of the international community in combating the pandemic, but also in end the Turkish occupation of North and East Syria which has had catastrophic repercussions. The displacement of tens of thousands of civilians and the resettlement of Syrians from other parts of the country into their vacated homes is intentional demographic engineering by Turkey, said Omar.