The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is preparing to release more than 850 suspected members of ISIS from its prisons, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on November 26.
The London-based monitoring group said that most of the suspects who will be released are from the northeastern governorate of al-Hasakah and the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor. It is still unclear if the suspectes will be released at once, or on batches.
“The release will be mediated by sheikhs and tribal elders from the [northeastern] region,” the SOHR’s report reads.
The SDF runs several prisons in northeastern Syria with support from the US-led coalition. Thousands of ISIS members, including foreigners, are held at these prisons.
A recent report by The Guardian revealed that the SDF have been releasing prisoners, including members of ISIS, in exchange a $8,000 “fine”. The prisoners who benefited from the these deals were not even subjected to a trail prior to their release. These deals were promoted as a “reconciliation” process.
The SDF denied the information revealed by The Guardian and claimed that the “official documents” presented by the British outlet were false.
Regardless of all recent developments, there no denying that the SDF released many suspected members of ISIS over the last few years to appease sheikhs and tribal elders in its areas.
By gonging easy on ISIS members, the SDF appears to be comprising its own counter-terrorist policy. The US-led coalition seems ok with that, likely because it has been using ISIS’ influence in northeastern Syria as an excuse to stay in the region.