Syria Kurds Say they Hold 900 Foreign ISIS Militants

Syria Kurds Say they Hold 900 Foreign ISIS Militants

Friday, 12 October, 2018 - 06:00
Fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units. AFP file photo
Qamishli (Syria) - Asharq Al-Awsat
Syrian Kurdish forces battling ISIS hold around 900 of the terrorist organization's foreign militants, a spokesman said on Thursday, a sharp increase from a previous figure.

In lengthy battles against ISIS in the war-torn country, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) have rounded up thousands of alleged ISIS members, Syrian and otherwise.

"Around 900 ISIS terrorists are in our jails... from 44 countries," YPG spokesman Nuri Mahmud told Agence France Presse.

That is a sharp rise from the figure of 520, given by another Kurdish official last month.

"The war is ongoing and until now we are arresting terrorists," Mahmud explained, referring to ongoing battles against ISIS in eastern Syria.

"The numbers have increased over the past months from the battles between our forces and ISIS," he said.

Syrian Kurds also hold 550 women and around 1,200 children from the families of ISIS members, according to local officials.

ISIS seized large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, declaring a so-called "caliphate" in areas they controlled.

But multiple offensives in both countries have since decimated that proto-state.

In Syria, the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces last month launched a battle to expel the militants from their last eastern redoubt of Hajin near the Iraqi border.

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