ASIA/SYRIA - Relatives of former IS fighters are returning to Raqqa

Saturday, 16 January 2021 middle east   jihadists   refugees   childhood   geopolitics   isis   kurds

Raqqa (Agenzia Fides) - The Kurdish Alliance of Democratic Forces of Syria, which controls northeast Syria, has ordered the release of about 400 families of former Islamic State (IS) militants from the Al Hol prison camp and their return to the city of Raqqa, a city that for a long time, during the years of conflict, was the main stronghold of Daesh in Syria. The release of families of Syrian IS members was motivated by the overcrowding of the camp, in which living conditions are becoming increasingly unbearable and where serious acts of violence occur again and again. Most of the relatives released from the Al Hol prison camp are widows and children of jihadists who were killed during the long conflict.
Nonetheless, the inhabitants of Raqqa expressed concerns and some open disapproval of the arrival of former prisoners from Al Hol. The Syirian Democratic Forces (SDF) is an alliance of predominantly Kurdish militias that was formed in October 2015 during the Syrian conflict and, with the support of the US-led international coalition, de facto controls large areas in northeastern Syria, including the so-called Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, commonly known as Rojava. The fate of the families of former ISIS fighters in the prison camps on Syrian territory remains a humanitarian problem that is difficult to solve. As early as 2020, the Syrian Democratic Forces began - with the mediation of local tribal leaders - a process of the release and progressive resettlement of prisoner families from Al Hol and other prison camps. After the collapse of the Islamic State, France has so far accompanied the return of 35 children of French jihadists who were detained in Kurdish-controlled prison camps. Over the past few weeks, dozens of people have died in clashes between secret IS cells and government forces. The traces of the Italian Jesuit and Islamic scholar Paolo Dall'Oglio, founder of the Deir Mar Musa monastic community, were lost in Rakka, the then Syrian stronghold of ISIS. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 16/1/2021)