The military campaign, launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in coordination with the international coalition, managed to liberate large swathes of lands in north and east of Syria. It is estimated that about 30% of the total area of Syria has been liberated from the terrorism of the Islamic State (IS), especially the city of Raqqa, the alleged capital of the terrorist organization.

The war against IS is still ongoing with ferocity to eliminate terrorism, which continues to threaten the free world and common human values. The sacrifices our forces made to defeat terrorism on behalf of all humanity were heavy. Eight thousands of our men and women fell while combating terrorism, and nearly five thousands were permanently physically disabled. IS destroyed entire towns and villages, and displaced tens of thousands of their residents, who are now living in camps that lack basic services.

While the SDF is engaged in the most important battles against the last pockets of IS in the countryside of Der Ezzor, the Turkish army, on October 27, unjustifiably targeted the region of Kobani, which constitutes a flagrant support for IS. Surprisingly, this aggression took place one day after the Istanbul Summit, which included the presidents of Turkey, Russia, France and Germany.

During the war on terrorism, the SDF managed to seize a large number of foreign terrorists with their families. These terrorists come from 46 different nationalities around the world, and are now being held in the regions of the Self-Administration of the North and East of Syria. So far, the number of IS members in our custody is (790) terrorists, (584) women, and (1248) children.

Children and women stay in three main refugee camps, namely Al-Hol, Roj and Ain Issa. The terrorists are detained by the security and counter-terrorism forces. The number of terrorists and their families are still on the increase due to the ongoing campaign in the countryside of Der Ezzor. It is estimated that up to (5000) IS fighters are still in the area of Hagin and its outskirts, the last stronghold of IS.

The seizure of these terrorists and their families by the SDF and security forces in north and east of Syria has protected the whole world from the threat they could pose if they managed to return back to their countries. A large number of them were arrested while trying to cross the border to Turkey, using the same routes when they first entered our regions.

This large number of dangerous terrorists, including those who committed terrible massacres against civilians, journalists and staff of relief organizations, pose a serious threat to us, and constitute a burden that we cannot bear alone, taking into consideration that our region is politically and militarily unstable.

Any flaw in the security system of north and east of Syria may enable them to flee, which would threaten the entire international community, especially the countries to which these terrorists belong. Moreover, the large number of children who were educated on the terrorist ideology of IS must be rehabilitated and integrated into their societies to ensure that they do not become future time bombs in their countries and the entire world.

We have worked together with the international community to eliminate IS. In the same way we need to join efforts to solve this issue through returning the terrorists to be prosecuted in their countries, and the women and children to be rehabilitated and integrated in their societies. This is an ethical, humanitarian and legal responsibility of these countries, and it is a big burden that we cannot bear alone, as a Self-Administration of North and East of Syria.

We cannot prosecute these terrorists, or keep them and their families in the regions of the Self-Administration. Our decision is to confront this serious problem through coordination and cooperation with the international community.

We express our full readiness to cooperate and coordinate with the international community, including the United Nations, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the International Red Cross, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, etc. We do not have any preconditions, and will provide all the necessary facilitations according to the existing law. We affirm our openness to any proposals from the international community that serve to solve this issue, such as the establishment of an international tribunal by a UN resolution to try these terrorists in our regions, and send them back to their countries to spend their term.

Foreign Relations Office of the Self-Administration of the North and East of Syria

31 October 2018

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