ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s judiciary on Thursday convened to discuss the mechanism by which it would “examine the cases of terrorism suspects” recently handed over to Baghdad by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The meeting was headed by the President of the Supreme Judicial Council, Judge Faiq Zidan, and attended by investigating magistrates on counter-terrorism cases. The body did not give further details regarding the outcome of the meeting.
Iraqi authorities have said the SDF had arrested more than 500 Iraqi Islamic State members in what appears to be the end to their military campaign against the extremist group in the last pocket of territory it still holds in Syria, located east of the country.
Iraqi security forces have received 280 fighters so far. The captured militants were sent in two separate batches, with the first group, some 130 Iraqi jihadists, arriving last Thursday as an Iraqi military spokesperson had then announced.
The mass expatriation comes as the SDF presses onward to defeat the jihadist group’s in their last stand in eastern Syria. Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Tuesday said his country could take suspected Islamic State fighters of Iraqi nationality as well as prosecute foreign militants who are suspected of having carried out terrorist attacks on Iraqi soil.
Iraqis formed part of the Islamic State’s strongest base, with members of the former Baathist regime believed to have made up the bulk of the terrorist group’s leadership, as members of the organization have previously revealed.
In a recent interview with AFP, a disgruntled female member of the group who had just escaped the last holdout claimed the “Iraqi leadership” had left the area “a long time ago.” She added: “Da’esh [ISIS] is Iraqis. It's not an Islamic state; it’s an Iraqi state.”
Editing by Nadia Riva