ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The press office of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Thursday said they captured three foreign Islamic State fighters from Turkey, Canada, and Germany in a special operation by Anti-Terror Units (YAT).
“These terrorists who were captured by our forces had come to Syria to join [IS],” a YPG statement explained, claiming the three had “confessed” to traveling through Turkey.
“We know that many members of the group who committed inhuman crimes are organized into small cells in many regions and prepared to carry out massacres at the first opportunity,” the YPG statement added.
The IS suspects that were arrested include a German national named Dirk Richard Pleil. “A German national who crossed the Turkish-Syrian border in 2015 and joined [IS] has been working within the ranks of the organization as a doctor-prosthetist but at times has been also directly involved in atrocities committed by the terrorist organization,” the YPG affirmed.
Another, a Canadian citizen named Mohammed Ali was also captured. “[He] was one of the [group’s] number-one snipers. He trained thousands of terrorists in Hasakah, Raqqa, and Deir al-Zor and participated himself in dozens of criminal acts,” the YPG claimed.
“He also was able to cross to Syria from Turkey without any hindrance. Thousands of others [IS] members like him also confessed that the Turkish state allowed them to cross its borders without any inconvenience,” the YPG statement added.
In Syria, he was known as Abu Turab al-Kanadi, and via his social media accounts, was encouraging people to join the group, according to the statement.
In 2014, “following the atrocious attacks that led to the deaths of Canadian soldiers in Quebec and Ottawa, again using his social media accounts, he called for more terrorist assaults, declaring that civilians or security personnel should be killed as ‘infidels.’”
Ali was also allegedly encouraging people who wanted to join IS to “go to Turkey and contact him from there.” The YPG asserted it was “known he helped a whole group from Toronto cross into Syria via Turkey.”
Ergün Orhan, a Turkish national born in Germany, was also captured. “After contacting IS through social media, he crossed into Syria from Turkey in 2015 and joined the organization. He was active in Jarablus and Raqqa,” the YPG explained.
“We have announced to the public that many of the Middle East and European nationals have been arrested and many of them have been rendered ineffective. We are determined to continue our struggle successfully, and its results will be announced to our people and the public,” the YPG concluded.
Last week, Abdulkarim Omer, the head of the Foreign Relations Commission in the Jazeera region, called on foreign countries to take back imprisoned foreign fighters, warning that the captured extremists could flee.
“We confirm that we will not prosecute [IS] fighters in our region [Rojava, Northeastern Syria]. Every country should repatriate their citizens and prosecute them on their soil,” Omer said on his official Twitter account.
The foreign affairs chief said there are nearly 900 foreign IS fighters in custody, with 400 to 500 IS wives and 1,000 children from 44 foreign countries.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, foreign governments have expressed reluctance to take back IS suspects, citing the risk they represent as a security threat.
Some countries have also indicated concern about evidentiary and legal challenges that would prevent them from prosecuting these IS militants.
Editing by Nadia Riva