ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Tuesday said his country could take Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-held foreign Islamic State militants and help repatriate them to their home countries at the request of their respective governments.
Countries whose citizens joined the Islamic State “could ask Iraq to help transfer” them back for prosecution, Abdul-Mahdi said during his weekly press briefing, adding that Baghdad would oblige such requests.
Should a militant’s home country refuse to take them back, he then continued, the SDF could still send fighters over to Iraq if they are suspected to have committed crimes on Iraqi soil.
“With each case, we would investigate the names, whether they participated in terrorist acts in Iraq. They then could be potentially judged in Iraqi courts,” Abdul-Mahdi explained, according to Reuters.
The prime minister’s comments come a day after Iraqi President Barham Salih announced that 13 French Islamic State captives, which the SDF recently handed over to Iraqi authorities, would be tried in Iraq. Salih’s statement came during a joint press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“They are accused of having led operations” on Iraqi soil, Salih added. “We are acting within the confines of international law on this matter.”
On Sunday, the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian SDF extradited 280 Iraqi nationals, who are accused of membership in the Islamic State, back to Baghdad.
The captured militants were sent in two separate batches, with the first group, some 130 Iraqi extremist fighters, arriving on Thursday as an Iraqi military spokesperson had then announced.
Editing by Nadia Riva