ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A British delegation of parliamentarians and researchers met with officials of the External Relations Department of the Kurdish-backed administration of northeast Syria on Monday evening in Qamishli to discuss various issues, including the thousands of foreign Islamic State fighters and families in Syrian Kurdish custody.
Labour Party MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who headed the British delegation, said he was “honored” to be back in northeast Syria after a previous visit with another delegation 18 months ago.
Related Article: UK MPs, academics arrive in Erbil to discuss Kurdistan-Britain ties
The delegation included Conservative MPs Crispin Blunt and Adam Holloway, Labour MP Lord Maurice Glasman, and Simon Dubbins, International Director of Unite the Union, one of the biggest British trade unions.
“We were united in our discussions that we wanted to express our gratitude for the work that has been done to defeat fascism here, the work not just to protect this region, but the work to help protect the world against an extremely dangerous set of ideologies,” Russell-Moyle said during a press conference.
“We were united in saying that we owe a debt of gratitude, but that also means that we must do our bit, and when it comes to foreign fighters, deradicalization, economic development, we were determined to go back to the UK with practical solutions to move these issues forward. We cannot let the continued situation last.”
One of the main topics was the suggestion to create an international tribunal in the northeast of Syria to prosecute foreign Islamic State fighters.
Amel Dada, the co-chair of the administration’s External Affairs Bureau, said it is necessary to find a solution for the thousands of Islamic State fighters and families that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hold.
“If we do not do that, it constitutes a time-bomb, so we need to do something to solve this issue. Otherwise, we will really face serious problems,” Dada stated.
Northeast Syria is the “best place to prosecute those dangerous ISIS fighters because they committed their crimes here and we have evidence against them here, we have witnesses here, so that’s why this court, this tribunal, needs to be held in the north and east of Syria,” she added.
European Union states, including the United Kingdom, have been reluctant to repatriate their citizens that joined the so-called Islamic State – as well the detainees’ children from 54 different countries – who are now being held in camps in Syria the SDF run.
“When it comes to foreign fighters, as you have heard, we listened in great detail about some of the suggestions about an international tribunal, and these are things that we will continue to take back and try and pursue,” Russell-Moyle said.
The MP noted that they did not visit northern Syria to suggest solutions to the SDF or the local administration, but instead “to listen, to have a dialogue.”
“We will use [our] influence to try and help to assist, to try and ensure your voice is heard in London so those solutions can be found.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany