ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have added two more Canadian women to the growing number of foreign prisoners in its custody who are alleged members of the Islamic State.
The identities of the two women and their four children were not revealed. The women surrendered to the SDF after they fled the Syrian province of Deir al-Zor, the Islamic State’s last pocket of territory, Global News reported.
The US-backed Kurdish forces have repeatedly called on governments around the globe to take back their citizens accused of membership in the militant group and prosecute them in their home countries.
The Canadian government has said it is difficult to collect enough evidence to prosecute Canadians who had joined the Islamic State or engaged in other terrorist activities abroad.
On Tuesday, Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale reiterated that point to the media. He said the country’s priority is to collect evidence for prosecution before the citizens are repatriated.
“We will examine carefully what can reasonably be done to protect those who are innocent in these circumstances,” Goodale said.
The Minister underlined that those “who have gone to that part of the world to participate [in the Islamic State] have also contributed [to terror], and they need to shoulder their responsibilities.”
Some lawmakers, however, have criticized current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government, saying they are responsible for failing to handle the return of Islamic State members effectively.
The recent arrest brings the number of Canadians known in Syrian Kurdish custody to at least 20: four men, five women, and 11 children.