The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have released more than 80 members of ISIS who were captured during battles with the terrorist group in northeast Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on March 22.
According to the London-based monitoring group, the released individuals are all Syrian citizens, from the governorates of Raqqa, al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor.
“Some of those released have not yet finished their sentence, while others did,” the SOHR’s report reads.
The monitoring group said the SDF’s decision upset the locals, who fear that theses individuals will go back to fight in the ranks of ISIS. The terrorist group still has some influence in different parts of northeast Syria.
Earlier this week, ISIS revealed that its cells assassinated 40 people in Deir Ezzor within three months only. Most of the victims were SDF personnel or people affiliated with the U.S.-backed group.
In the last few years, the SDF released hundreds of ex-ISIS fighters. This likely contributed to the reemergence of ISIS in northeast Syria.
The SDF usually releases ISIS members upon request from influential figures, like tribal leaders, businessmen or local commanders. In some cases, personal connections and even bribes are believed to be the motive.