Foreign Relations official Abeer Elia; international community evasive about establishment of tribunal to try ISIS members in North and East Syria

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA – Since the defeat of the Islamic State Caliphate in Syria by the International Coalition and its partners on the ground, the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria has received many official diplomatic delegations from Western countries to discuss and arrange the repatriation of their citizens who joined the Islamic State. The Western nationals and their families are detained in al-Hol Refugee Camp, al-Roj Camp, and other camps in the DAA regions.

In a statement to Syriac radio channel Suroyo FM, which airs in the Gozarto Region, the Deputy Co-Chair of the DAA’s Foreign Relations Office in North and East Syria Abeer Elia clarified and commented the repatriation process for foreign state citizens and the DAA’s future steps regarding the remaining ISIS families.

Abeer Elia (Syriac Union Party) stated that the DAA is in constant contact with the countries through the delegations it receives in the DAA. Hundreds of women and children who were victims of ISIS have been handed over this way to more than 25 countries. She noted that the women were only handed over after making sure that they were not previously involved in any form of terrorism. Most of the repatriated children are orphans and the home countries will work to rehabilitate them and integrate them into their societies.

Regarding the official repatriation mechanism for the women and children, Elia stated that this is done by Western countries submitting official requests to the Foreign Relations Office of the Democratic Autonomous Administration. The handover is then arranged according to official documents between the DAA and the delegation of the concerned country.

Some countries announce their intention to repatriate their nationals before or during the process and in a press conference, while other countries only announce it after the completion of the official handover.

When asked about the calls of the Democratic Autonomous Administration to open an international court in the region to try ISIS members who hold Western nationalities, Abeer Elia said that the administration is still sending out there to the international community and European countries the message to establish such a court. Such a court or tribunal would be established by decision of the United Nations Security Council.

The Islamic State detainees in the prisons and detention centers of the DAA pose a great danger. They should normally be prosecuted by their country of origin because the Democratic Autonomous Administration does not have the jurisdiction to try detainees who do not have Syrian citizenship. The large number of detainees of the Islamic State are a major financial and personnel burden for the DAA and they destabilize the region. The detention camps and prisons are the scene of riots, crime and the terrorist Islamic State ideology rules parts of the huge camps. Elia stated that the DAA’s calls are being ignored by some countries, except Germany, Belgium and Sweden.