ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi government will repatriate members of the so-called Islamic State and their families who Kurdish-led forces are holding in Syria, Iraq’s prime minister said on Tuesday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi made the comments during a press conference following a meeting with Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.
According to the Associated Press, a senior Iraqi intelligence official said there are up to 20,000 Iraqis, including members of the Islamic State, which Baghdad will bring back home by April.
The official added that these people would live in a tent settlement in Iraq’s western Anbar province and that Iraqi security would interrogate the Islamic State fighters.
Last week, the United States called on countries to bring home thousands of Islamic State members which the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have captured in Syria.
Some senior Syrian Kurdish officials say the number of captured Islamic State fighters has surpassed 1,500 after the recent offensive in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province.
So far, European states have been reluctant to bring back Islamic State fighters or women accused of membership in the extremist group and their children who are stuck in Syria.
Many EU countries fear that due to the lack of evidence, Islamic State supporters could be quickly released once they appear in court after returning home.
The United Kingdom has refused to take back their citizens who joined the Islamic State and has reportedly stripped them of their citizenships, AP reported.
France, meanwhile, has said Paris would prosecute Islamic State members if Syrian Kurds deport them.