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Italian Islamic State member handed to Rome, say Syria Kurds

Italian Islamic State member handed to Rome, say Syria Kurds

2019/06/30 | 11:10

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- Syrian Kurds capture hundreds of Islamic State ISIS militants in eastern Syria, March 2019. Photo: AFP

BEIRUT,— Kurdish authorities in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) in northeastern Syria have handed to Italy one of its citizens accused of belonging to the Islamic State group, a spokesman said Saturday.

“Italian jihadist Samir Bougana (aka Abu Abdullah) who had been captured fleeing ISIS and had been imprisoned since then, was handed over to Italian government,” said Mustefa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, using a different acronym for IS.

He said the transfer had been made on Rome’s request.











He did not specify when it took place or whether or not the suspected jihadist had already left the country.

Bougana — also known as Abu Hureyre al-Muhajir or Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir — was first captured by Kurdish fighters in Syria in August 2018 as he tried to flee into Turkey.

He had allegedly been involved in weapons shipments to IS.

His transfer is part of a wider effort by the Kurdish administration to rid itself of the dregs of the IS proto-state.

Following the collapse of the group’s “caliphate” in March, alleged IS fighters from nearly 50 countries have been detained in Syria and Iraq.

Over 11,000 of their family members are being held in Syria’s al-Hol camp alone.

But repatriation is a sensitive issue for Western nations such as France and Britain, which have experienced attacks by homegrown extremists and have little interest in seeing more return.

There are also worries that it could prove difficult to successfully prosecute fighters in European courts for crimes committed in Iraq or Syria.

Britain has gone so far as stripping IS members of citizenship, while France has said it will repatriate only orphans.

The United States, however, has urged Western countries to take their nationals back and has repatriated some of its own, including three IS group fighters and several American women and children.

On Thursday, it warned European countries they were making a “bad decision” by leaving their nationals in Syria instead of repatriating them to face justice.

Also last week, the United Nations’ rights chief called for countries to repatriate Syria-based family members of suspected foreign fighters, including some 29,000 foreign children of IS jihadists.

Syria’s Kurds have detained hundreds of foreigners suspected of fighting for IS, as well as thousands of related women and children, during the US-backed battle against IS in Syria.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces expelled the extremist group from its last patch of territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz in March, after larger than expected numbers of families emerged from the ruins.

U.S. has for years supported the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria, as part of an international anti-jihadist coalition dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). But U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly announced the pullout from Syria.

The Kurdish PYD and its powerful military wing YPG/YPJ considered the most effective fighting force against IS. The YPG, which make up the backbone of the SDF forces, has seized swathes of Syria from Islamic State.

In 2013, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD — the political branch of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — has established three autonomous Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan in 2013. On March 17, 2016, Kurdish and Arab authorities announced the creation of a “federal region” made up of those semi-autonomous regions in Syrian Kurdistan.

Copyright © 2019, respective author or news agency, Ekurd.net | AFP

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